Ambitious Construction Company, the successful contractor for the UGX 32 Billion (USD 8.8 million) Gulu Logistics Hub was last week officially handed the 12.24 site on which this multi-modal logistics and freights hub will sit.
The handover of the construction site, availed by Uganda Railways Corporation (URC) effectively kicked-off the actual construction phase of the Gulu Logistics Hub, with completion expected within the next 18 months.
“Gulu Logistics Hub will help unlock the production potential of northern Uganda. There is a lot of untapped potential that will be unlocked by this multi modal hub & other Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) projects, Eng Charles Kateeba , the managing director of URC said.
On completion, this freight and logistics facility will have a spacious container yard, container freight station (CFS), container cleaning and repair station, a vehicle holding section, an administration complex and an access road connecting the hub to the main roads to South Sudan and Kampala.
” Gulu Logistics Hub forms a bigger part of the development projects for northern Uganda. European Union and United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) have through TradeMark East Africa funded the Hub. Government of Uganda is funding the access roads, “Nelson Rwenaga, Assistant Commissioner Road and Air Transport at Ministry of Works and Transport noted.
The Gulu Logistics hub will also have a railway sub-station; directly connected to the Tororo-Gulu metre gauge line, which will receive and dispatch in and outbound trains in addition to having sufficient space for loading and unloading wagons.
Following the successful handover of the construction site to the contractors, Moses Sabiiti, the country director for TradeMark East Africa, Uganda and South Sudan programs noted that the biggest beneficiaries of this project will be the millions of Ugandans staying in northern Uganda, South Sudan and parts of Congo.
“Gulu Logistics Hub will reduce the cost of transportation of cargo for traders in northern Uganda and neighbouring countries. At the end, the final consumers will enjoy reduced prices and variety of goods,” Moses Sabiiti said, adding;
“Currently, many trucks that transport goods to northern Uganda, South Sudan and parts of DR Congo return to their ports of origin empty. With the Gulu Logistics Hub in place, these trucks will be able to pick goods here and transport them to the port.”
Ojara Martin Mapenduzi, the Gulu LC5 chairperson welcomed the development noting that such projects are much welcome in Gulu and the entire northern region.
” On behalf of the people of Gulu, I assure you our friends and partners that we will do everything possible to support the implementation of all development projects. Gulu is trying to be very strategic. We want more projects and more production.” Ojara said.
He nonetheless, urged the contractor to ensure local content and health safety issues are prioritized.
” I challenge the contractors for the Gulu Logistics Hub and other projects underway to seriously consider giving opportunities to the locals. Our people are very WELCOMING, HARD WORKING & READY TO SERVE. Health and Environment standards should be respected too” Ojara concluded.
Better Trade days for the region.
Since the end of the war in northern Uganda and the return of relative stability in South Sudan and eastern DR Congo, Uganda has been playing a vital role as a distribution hub for the two areas.
According to a World Bank study – Uganda Diagnostic Trade Integration Study – importers in South Sudan and DRC keep supplies in bonded facilities in Kampala before bringing them into either country as and when needed.
However, with the assurances of shorter lead times, Uganda has seen transit volumes grow, which has led to the emergence of a distribution industry especially in Jinja and Kampala.
Nonetheless, the over dependence on Kampala and Jinja distribution hubs which sit some 334kms and 388kms away from Gulu respectively and sometimes opting for goods moving from as far as Mombasa Port directly to northern Uganda, South Sudan or eastern DR Congo, continues to have its own shortfalls.
In essence, the operationalisation of the Gulu Logistics Hub will be a great relief to both Traders and Goods Final Consumers as they will enjoy reduced costs of transportation and lower prices respectively. The Gulu Logistics Hub is also expected to address these issues that continue to hamper the seamless distribution of cargo in northern Uganda, South Sudan, and parts of DR Congo.