Uganda has announced plans to start constructing its standard gauge railway (SGR) later in 2017 which will link the country’s capital Kampala to Kenya’s border town of Malaba, the Business Daily reports.
The east African nation apparently dropped an earlier condition that required Kenya to extend its track to the border first.
The first phase of the 273-kilometre track, which will take 40 months to be implemented by China Harbour Engineering Company, will commence later this year after the Ugandan government received funding from China Export-Import Bank.
Bloomberg quoted project co-coordinator Kasingye Kyamugambi as saying that it would take 40 months to complete the line.
Kenya has finished civil works on the first phase of its SGR, the 472-kilometre track from Mombasa to Nairobi, which will be commissioned in June, paving the way for construction of the second phase extending to Naivasha.
The SGR is expected to cut transport costs to Uganda and other landlocked states that rely on Kenya’s ports.
In his New Year message, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said the SGR ‘‘will bring the cost of transport for a 32-tonne container to Mombasa from Sh350,000 ($3,500) by road, to Sh165,000 by railway in a record one-day journey compared to the traditional 21 days”.