Govt to set up logistics platform to facilitate international trade


Trade and Industry minister Francois Kanimba (C) and Suhail Albanna, senior vice president and managing director of Dubai Port World in Middle East and Africa region (R) exchange paperwork after signing an agreement that will see the construction of Kigali Logistics Platform in Masaka Sector. Applauding is Rwanda Development Board chief executive Francis Gatare. (Michel Nkurunziza)

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has signed a 25-year renewable concession agreement with Dubai Port World to develop and operate a logistics platform, expected to boost international trade and competition in external market.

The envisaged Kigali Logistics Platform (KLP) refers to a defined inland location for the consolidation and distribution of goods that has functions similar to those of a seaport and which includes customs clearance services.

The logistics infrastructure to be located in Masaka, Kigali, will offer different services such as a depot to enable cargo trucks from Mombasa and Dar es Salaam ports to load and offload containers without delay, according to Trade and Industry minister Francois Kanimba.

The partnership follows a competitive tender process where DP World emerged the winner to invest in the programme after negotiations, the minister said after the signing last Friday.

It is hoped that the infrastructure to be constructed will address hurdles that have been affecting transportation of goods to Rwanda.

“There had been cases where offloading containers takes almost the whole week, forcing truckers to make only two trips per month. But with new infrastructure, the trucks will do as many as five trips per month. This will definitely reduce transport costs and increase profit for businesses,” Kanimba told the journalists.

According to Kanimba, there will also be bonded and non-bonded warehouses for both goods that have not yet been cleared by customs and those manufactured by local industries.

“Industries have been lacking where to store their produced goods before they sell them whenever clients order for them. They are used to manufacturing goods only on order which is not fair to customers who need goods without delay,” Kanimba said.

“But with infrastructure of KLP, they will produce to their capacity and store goods in warehouses ready to be sold any time they are ordered. The warehouses will also store their raw materials.”

Rwanda Development Board chief executive Francis Gatare (L), Kanimba (C) and Albanna brief journalists on the envisaged KLP in Kigali last week. (Michel Nkurunziza)

The platform will also have a big parking yard.

Kigali city has a problem of traffic jam toward Magerwa Gikondo where trucks crossing city roads form long queues to offload containers. But this will be solved by the parking, Kanimba added.

He said government will construct roads allowing those trucks to reach the logistics platform without passing through the city centre.

The port at Masaka will sit on 30 hectares of land. The first phase of infrastructure will occupy 13 hectares, where residents have already been expropriated, while the second phase will be worked on after five years.

Suhail Albanna, senior vice president and managing director of DP World in Middle East and Africa region, said the preliminary study shows that at least $30 million wll be needed to establish Kigali Logistics Platform.

“Good leadership and friendly business environment growing in Rwanda attracted the infrastructure investment that we have been carrying out across the world. We bring to Rwanda expertise, knowledge of logistics arena, It is an encouragement to business and export sector to be able to globally compete,” he said.