With an eye on the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan markets, there is renewed vibrancy on the Northern Corridor, as Uganda and Kenya join forces to push the rehabilitation and seamless connection of the old metre gauge railway line, over which the two countries’ officials met this week to thrash out operational details.
It is understood that Kenya, which is revamping its metre gauge railway line from Naivasha to Malaba, wants a reliable mode of transport for onward transit of cargo into the hinterland to make its logistics infrastructure operational, particularly the Naivasha inland container depot. Besides putting its logistics infrastructure to use, Kenya is also eyeing the $92.3 million Congolese market for its manufactured goods and is apparently keen to see a link with Uganda actualised in the shortest time possible.
“Kenya is interested in a seamless connection immediately,” said Stanley Sendegeya, Uganda Railways Corporation (URC) managing director.
On the sidelines of President Yoweri Museveni’s inauguration on May 12, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure James Macharia told The EastAfrican that he met his Uganda counterpart Gen Edward Katumba Wamala to discuss the metre gauge railway operations. The EastAfrican also understands that Chinese embassy officials attended the meeting.
This meeting was part of the concessions talks between China Roads and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) and URC to have the Chinese firm rehabilitate the Malaba-Kampala railway line.
“We came here to assist them conclude this deal. It has been done,” CS Macharia told The EastAfrican from Kampala. “The idea is to make sure we have a seamless operation of the metre gauge railway line from Naivasha all the way to Kampala.”
Kenya has contracted CRBC to rehabilitate the Longonot- Malaba line and the progress is good so far, said the minister.
“So we felt for it to make sense, Uganda had to also start doing the same for their line to make this project complete,” he added.