Rwanda secures dry port in Kenya

A truck passes under the Rwanda Revenue Authority scanner at the Gatuna/Katuna border. Rwanda has denied reports that it has banned Ugandan imports. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA | NMG
A truck passes under the Rwanda Revenue Authority scanner at the Gatuna/Katuna border.PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA | NMG

Rwanda has secured a dry port in Kenya’s Naivasha town easing Rwanda’s access to the port of Mombasa for exports and imports.

The dry port located about 560 kilometers from Port of Mombasa will be among other ways to reduce the journey freight trucks have to take for outbound exports and inbound imports.

Goods will be ferried to and from the inland port of Mombasa via rial which is cheaper and faster compared to road transport.

According to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Vincent Biruta, dry port will allow imports to be received in Naivasha as opposed to Mombasa which will reduce the distance covered by road for goods destined to Rwanda or exported from Rwanda as well as costs of logistics.

The Rwandan government is in consultation with the private sector to establish ways to make the most of the dry port, Biruta said.

Discussions on how the country can use Lake Victoria to transport the goods up to Port bell in Kampala to further reduce the cost of transport are taking place.

The development could to some extent reduce the cost of imports in the country through Mombasa as well as the competitiveness of Rwanda’s exports as operational costs reduce.

This will complement the Dar-es Salaam route through the Central Corridor where a significant volume of cargo goes through.

As of 2018, unofficial estimates put the cost of shipping a six-metre-long container from Shanghai China to Mombasa at between $500 USD to $1,000 USD, a distance of about 10,000 kilometres while the transport costs for the same container from Mombasa to Kigali are estimated up to $4,000 USD, a distance of about 1,400 km by road in about two days.

Reduction of the 1,400 km distance by road will to a great extent reduce the cost of goods and consequently competitiveness.

With a significant volume of imports is capital and intermediary goods, the development could further mean that reduced cost of projects in Rwanda.

Manasseh Nshuti the Minister in charge of East African Community (EAC) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said that as a landlocked country, it is important to find solutions to access ports.

“Naivasha to Mombasa is 560 km. Goods will use rail reducing road transport which is more expensive and time consuming. Naivasha to Kigali will be shorter. We also have two options, Naivasha to Kigali by road or we can use Naivasha to Kisumu via road which is about 200 km, then barges from Kisumu to Port Bell in Uganda. By sea it will be cheaper,” Nshuti said.