Uganda launches rehabilitation of key meter gauge railway aimed at improving regional trade

Uganda on August 4th launched the construction of a key meter gauge railway line connecting the eastern to the northern region of the East African country.

According to officials, the railway line will be vital in the transportation of cargo destined for the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

Gen. Katumba Wamala, the Works and Transport Minister, said in a statement Friday the meter line will run from the eastern district of Tororo to the northern city of Gulu.

“As you are aware, the Government of Uganda has prioritized among others the rehabilitation of the Meter Gauge Railway to enable bulk transportation of goods and reduce high cost of transport by road, traffic congestion and other associated costs,” Wamala said.

He said already, emergency rehabilitation works had commenced on another line running from the border with Kenya connecting to the capital Kampala.

The minister revealed that the Government of Uganda through Uganda Railways Corporation had engaged China Road and Bridge Corporation to undertake the rehabilitation works which will take two years.

The 375km railway line will go through the districts of Mbale, Kumi, Soroti, Lira before terminating at the Gulu Logistics Hub.

“The Hub is designed to facilitate transportation, collection, separation, consolidation and distribution of goods for national and international transit on a commercial basis,” Wamala said.

John Lennon Sengendo, the head of communications at the Uganda Railways Corporation, said earlier the contract is worth 53.6 million US dollars.

“The railway line will facilitate trade between Uganda and South Sudan, as well as with the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is because Gulu is a multi-model transport hub and connecting centre to those other east African countries,” he added.

According to Sengendo, the railway line is part of the government’s strategic infrastructure system aimed at lessening the burden on the country’s roads.

“When it comes to transporting cargo, the railway system reduces the costs, hence improving profitability and reducing retail prices,” Sengendo said.

“The government has been spending a lot of money to renovate roads. That is why the focus is now turning to railway lines. Many more are being rehabilitated alongside the planned Standard Gauge Railway,” Sengendo added.

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