Dry Port in Kampala.

Ridelink Series

Written by Henry Senkungu on Dec. 6, 2023

On Friday 24 Nov, an article was published in the daily monitor titled “Kenya to engage Uganda on setting up a dry port in Kampala” this seemed exciting for the logistics industry and  all other economic players within Uganda because of the benefits a dry port comes with.

A dry port is an inland intermodal terminal directly connected to a seaport by rail or road, facilitating the movement of cargo containers between the port and hinterland destinations. 

It serves as a logistics hub for customs clearance, storage, and distribution, reducing congestion at the seaport. Dry ports enhance efficiency in the transportation of goods, particularly in landlocked areas.

Uganda's import and export structure is heavily reliant on neighboring countries, particularly Kenya, for access to seaports.This creates significant logistical challenges and delays, as well as increases transportation costs.

Import Structure

Imports in Uganda decreased to 1049.10 USD Million in October from 1106.50 USD Million in September of 2023. Imports in Uganda averaged 363.40 USD Million from 1993 until 2023, reaching an all time high of 1210.90 USD Million in August of 2023 and a record low of 44.20 USD Million in August of 1993. source: Bank of Uganda

Uganda's top imports include machinery, petroleum products, vehicles, pharmaceuticals, and iron and steel. The majority of these imports come from Kenya, followed by China, India, the United Arab Emirates, and South Africa.

source: tradingeconomics.com

Export Structure

Exports in Uganda increased to 688.69 USD Million in October from 632.06 USD Million in September of 2023. Exports in Uganda averaged 173.82 USD Million from 1993 until 2023, reaching an all time high of 688.69 USD Million in October of 2023 and a record low of 12.39 USD Million in July of 1993. sourceBank of Uganda

Uganda's top exports include coffee, gold, tea, maize, and vegetables. The majority of these exports go to the European Union, followed by the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, South Sudan, and Kenya.


source: tradingeconomics.com

Having a dry port near the city center offers multifaceted benefits for Uganda. Firstly, it significantly enhances logistics efficiency by acting as a pivotal link between the seaport and inland locations. This results in streamlined goods movement, reducing transit times, overall costs, and mitigating congestion at the primary port. The strategic placement of the dry port optimizes the supply chain, fostering a more efficient and responsive trade environment.

The cost-saving implications of a dry port are particularly impactful for landlocked countries like Uganda. By establishing a dry port, transportation costs associated with moving goods from the seaport to inland destinations can be substantially reduced. This not only contributes to economic savings but also bolsters the nation's competitiveness in the global market, facilitating smoother and more cost-effective trade operations.

Beyond economic efficiency, the establishment of a dry port brings about broader socio-economic advantages. This includes the facilitation of customs clearance through dedicated facilities, promoting quicker processing of imported goods. Moreover, the presence of a dry port can catalyze economic development in the surrounding areas. It becomes a focal point for business activity, job creation, and overall growth within the logistics and transportation sector, contributing to the nation's economic prosperity.

Considerations for Success:

Ensuring the success of a dry port hinges on key considerations. Fundamental among these is substantial investment in infrastructure, encompassing well-maintained roads and effective rail connections. The development of a robust physical foundation is imperative for the seamless movement of goods and the overall operational efficiency of the dry port.

Additionally, the establishment of a supportive regulatory framework is pivotal. A conducive regulatory environment is essential for the smooth functioning of the dry port and fostering international trade. Clear and streamlined regulations contribute to operational clarity and facilitate the expeditious movement of goods, essential for the success of the dry port as a pivotal logistics hub.

Moreover, fostering collaborative efforts through public-private partnerships is a strategic imperative. By forging synergies between the government and the private sector, the efficiency and sustainability of the dry port can be significantly enhanced. Such partnerships bring together the strengths of both entities, creating a conducive ecosystem for the seamless operation and continual growth of the dry port.

RideLink, operating as an e-logistics company in Kampala, stands to gain significant advantages from the presence of a dry port. Firstly, it can enjoy reduced transportation costs by utilizing the inland hub for cargo consolidation and international processing. This means avoiding the lengthy journey to Mombasa port, resulting in savings on fuel, time, and manpower for RideLink.

Moreover, a local dry port in Kampala would enhance RideLink's overall efficiency. Faster customs processing and streamlined logistics operations mean quicker deliveries for clients, particularly crucial for time-sensitive cargo. Additionally, the improved cargo security offered by dry ports ensures RideLink's clients have confidence in the safety of their goods, further solidifying RideLink's position as a reliable and efficient logistics partner.

Overall, a dry port in Kampala would be a game-changer for RideLink, enabling it to offer faster, cheaper, and more secure services to its clients. This would not only strengthen its position in the Ugandan market but also open doors for regional and international expansion.

It's important to note that establishing a dry port requires significant investment and collaboration with various stakeholders. However, the potential benefits for RideLink and the Ugandan economy are undeniable.

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