Uganda revitalizes water transport to boost regional trade

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KAMPALA, July 8 (Xinhua) -- Uganda has reopened the Central Corridor to transport cargoes across Lake Victoria from the Tanzanian town of Mwanza to the Ugandan capital Kampala, its transport authorities said Wednesday.

"The revitalization of the Central Corridor after many years of inactivity is a clear testimony of Uganda's commitment to strengthen our economy," Fred Byamukama, Uganda's state minister for transport, said while receiving the first consignment of bulky goods from Mwanza on Wednesday.

The minister said the rehabilitation of the Meter Gauge Railway from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza has increased efficiency and reduced transit time.

Dar es Salaam is the Tanzanian seaport linked to Mwanza by railway and to Kampala by water.

The route used to transport up to 95 percent of Uganda's inbound cargoes.

"Today, it is transporting less than 2 percent despite the fact that cargo volumes both inbound, outbound, and even transit have exponentially grown over the last decade," the minister said.

He said the need for reliable and multiple access to the sea for Uganda and surrounding countries was more pressing than ever before.

Byamukama said that since Uganda will soon become an oil-producing country, there is a need to develop numerous prerequisite transport infrastructures to match the sector's requirements.

"Through this corridor, we aim to provide an alternative route and mitigate consequences of land-linked reliance on the Northern Corridor," he said. The Northern Corridor route is from the Kenyan seaport of Mombasa to Kampala.

The minister said the use of the Central Corridor would enable Uganda to reduce the cost of road maintenance and help maintain ecological balance.

Uganda also plans to further develop marine capacity by building new ports and passenger terminals, according to the transport ministry. Enditem

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