he lack of a crucial railway network is holding back the operation of the Uganda-based Gulu Logistics Hub which was completed in April this year. The construction of the Tororo-Gulu and Gulu-Pakwach railway lines has stalled. The construction of access roads to the hub is yet to be completed.
According to The Observer, which is reported to have visited the site, there were only a few security guards, and the administration block and warehouses were all empty and covered in dust. The contractor has already demobilized the site.
The facility was intended to be a game-changer for trade between Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan. The hub has the capacity to handle 500,000 containers at one time. The three countries use Northern Corridor that is served by the Mombasa port.
Located in Northern Uganda, the facility was supported by Trademark East Africa (TMEA) through funds from the Department for International Development (DFID) and European Union (EU).
Uganda government provided land for the hub’s development and committed to providing the US$ 3 million required for the construction of access roads to the hub and rehabilitation of the project-affected persons (PAP).
“On completion, this project will change several things. It will be the main import and export hub for this region, South Sudan and DRC. Gulu Logistics Hub will also lower the cost of doing business, create employment and benefit the local community,” John Musinguzi Rujoki, the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Commissioner General, said last year.
The hub lies on a 24.1 acres piece of land in Layibi division, Gulu Municipality. It is located next to the current Gulu railway station and connects the major roads to South Sudan and Kampala.
The facility is expected to handle containers, break-bulk, handling and storage facilities, space for stakeholders dealing with freight transport and the provision of accompanying services such as customs inspections, tax payment, maintenance and repair, banking, and information communication technology.
“We have invested massively in the road network. The roads are for small cargo and that is for the short term. The proper medicine for cargo transportation is the railway,” President Yoweri Museveni said when he launched the project.
The writer is an editorial consultant and can be reached at email@example.com