Tanzania and Uganda signs MOU to re-open Mwanza -Port Bell route

Dar es Salaam 13th July 2017: Tanzania and Uganda have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on joint ministerial cooperation and improvement of Ports, inland waterways and Railway transport in order to increase transit trade among them.

The agreement will see the re-opening of the multi-modal transport route from Dar es Salaam Port to Port Bell in Kampala via Mwanza Port through the use of trains and Wagon Ferry services.

Tanzania Minister for Works, Transport and Communications Hon. Prof. Makame Mbarawa (right), Uganda State Minister for Transport Hon. Aggrey Bagiire (centre) and CCTTFA Executive Secretary Capt. Dieudonne Dukundane after (Ministers) signing of the MOU on 13th July 2017

In addition, Tanzania Port Authority (TPA) and Uganda Railways Corporation (URC) will work together to renovate the Kampala ICD and improve the Port Bell operations.

The MOU was signed at Dar Port by the Minister for Works, Transport and Communications Hon. Prof. Makame Mbarawa and Uganda State Minister for Transport Hon. Aggrey Bagiire in presence of Central Corridor Transit Transport Facilitation Agency (CCTTFA) Executive Secretary Capt. Dieudonne Dukundane and TRL Director General Mr. Masanja Kadogosa, among others.

In attendance there were also representatives from Tanzania Revenue Authority, Marine Services and private sector representatives from Tanzania and Uganda.

Speaking before signing the agreement Prof Mbarawa said Tanzania was determined to bring back and retain the Ugandan traders because the two countries have long relationship.

He said Tanzania was implementing various projects including construction of a new Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), Modernization of Dar es Salaam Port to further reduce transit time from the Dar Port to Kampala.

CCTTFA Executive Secretary Capt. Dieudonne Dukundane speaking during the meeting

“It will only take 11 hours for cargo to reach Kampala when the SGR will be operational instead of 4 days by road. We are doing all these because it is our obligation not a favour,” Prof Mbarawa said.

On his part Minister Bagiire called on parties to agreement to start implementation of agreed issues in order to achieve the expected goal of reducing transport costs and improvement of the services.

He called on Tanzanian government to reduce the road-toll charged to Uganda trucks which is one of the reason that prohibit Uganda traders to use the Dar Port through the Central Corridor.

Tanzania charges $500 for Uganda trucks while Uganda charges $40 for Tanzania trucks entering Uganda. The tolls are usually charged based on kilometers.

TPA Director General Eng. Deusdedit Kakoko said the port through implementation of the agreement is targeting to double the cargo throughput from current 250,000 to 500,000 tons by December 2017.

“we also expected to handle 1,000,000 tons of Uganda cargo between January and June 2018 and 1,800 tons by December 2018.

Currently, only 2.5% of Uganda cargo pass through the Dar Port, down from 30% in the past.

Commenting on the signed agreement the CCTTFA Executive Secretary Capt. Dieudonne Dukundane said with improvement of the multi-modal transport systems of railway and waterways, it should be possible to even triple the cargo throughput for the route.

“I have worked in Lake Victoria for more than 10 years, I know what it means for Uganda and Tanzania business when you open up the Dar -Mwanza- Kampala route,” noted Dukundane who also pledged CCTTFA’s commitment to working with all stakeholders.

CCTTFA was part of the initial discussions and facilitation that led to the signing of the MOU between Tanzania and Uganda.