RVR and The Uganda Export Promotion Board Champion Rail transportation to boost trade

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  • Minister encourages Ugandan business  community to take advantage of tangible progress made by RVR in the rail sector to help preserve Ugandan roads
  • Transit time between Mombasa and Kampala has been cut to an average of just 6 days
  • New laws to be introduced by EAC members limiting the weight of goods being transported by road in a single load

RVR the concessionaire of the Uganda Kenya Railway in partnership the UEPB have held a consultative and update workshop with a cross-section of the business community aimed at creating awareness about progress being made on the railway and finding ways of increasing the volume of goods the business community in Uganda transports via rail which is still underutilized. 

Speaking at a press briefing held on the start of the trade seminar RVR’s chief commercial manager Andreas Heinel noted that the company had made a lot of progress as a result of investments made in infrastructure and rolling stock by the new shareholders who took over operations in 2012 this has resulted in much greater reliability, faster turnaround times and improved commercial efficiencies.

He gave the example of the transit time between Mombasa Kampala and vice versa which is now only 6 days down from 14 when the new management took over, “we believe this transit can be significantly reduced if bureaucratic and customs processes were streamlined at the port, border and within the bonds.

Officiating as the guest of honour at the trade seminar Hon Emilia Kyambade the Minister of Trade and Industry lauded the two organizations for partnering in this initiative, “Uganda’s balance of trade is not healthy at the moment” she noted “as we look at further streamlining our imports procedures we also need to look at ways of stimulating exports which will provide employment for more Ugandans and bring in the much needed foreign exchange necessary to stabilize the currency”.

She encouraged the business community to take advantage of rail transportation as an alternative to roads which is already overburdened by the huge volume of traffic, she pointed out that rail transportation possesses many advantages over roads “there is no weight restriction, the routing is a lot more direct and the price is affordable”. Additionally she stated moving goods by rail will help preserve our roads hence saving the taxpayer money. “Now that RVR is showing tangible signs of improvements, I urge the business community to use rail because one of the measures the governments of East Africa are considering introducing is legislation that will make it mandatory to move goods above a certain weight by rail. So any companies that embrace rail now will get a definite head start over their competitors” she advised.

Thanking the ministry for the guidance and support they have provided Ugandan exporters over the years, the Executive Director of Uganda’s Export Promotion Board Emmanuel Mutahunga applauded the Minister for the various initiatives her ministry has championed which he said have created a conducive environment for members of the community to thrive. “The number of Ugandan exporters has grown exponentially over the last few years and we know this has been mainly due to your own personal involvement and commitment, today we honour you by presenting you with a certificate of appreciation on behalf of our members,” he added.

Andreas concluded by highlighting the measures RVR has put into place to increase efficiency thereby creating customer satisfaction. “Over the last 9 months, the company has received delivery of 13 out of 20 GE locomotives; another 1,000 freight wagons have been refurbished to boost capacity. He added, “With these and the expected delivery of 500 heavy carrier wagons later in the year, I am confident the company has the capacity to comfortably quadruple the volume of freight we move today. This is indeed an incredible achievement” he stated.