Local logistics firm, Magerwa Ltd, known by its French acronym Magasins Generaux de Rwanda, is set to develop Rwanda’s dry ports in Tanzania, Kenya and Djibouti as part of its expansion program.
The logistics sector is crucial to economic growth in Rwanda, where goods worth over US$1.2 billion, or 25 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are imported annually.
Magerwa Ltd, Rwanda’s largest warehouse operator was recently taken over by Portek International, a Singaporean company which received a line of financial support from International Finance Corporation (IFC) worth US$4.8m as facilitation of its planned expansion program.
The experienced port operator will help introduce international best practices, improving efficiency and reducing costs through the creation of better linkages between Rwanda and key East African ports of Mombasa and Dar-es-salaam.
According to Lambert Kanyoni, Director General of Magerwa Ltd, the expansion project involves developing facilities in three locations in Kenya, Tanzania and Djibouti.
A 12 hectare dry port is set to be constructed in Maritini within Mombasa city in Kenya along with a planned construction of a similar facility to be located on a 20 hectare plot in Djibouti. A 17.5 hectare piece of land belonging to Rwanda and located at Isaka dry port in Tanzania is also set for further development.
“We intend to build a dry port in Djibouti because the waters there are very deep and thus importers and exporters will use it and cut costs at the port,” Lambert said. The new management at Magerwa Ltd promised to improve the level of service provision to the importers and exporters by introducing new technologies and initiatives thereby helping the company to extend its supply chain in the region.
Rogers Munyampenda, Chief Executive of Private Sector Federation(PSF) said government has contracted Magerwa Ltd to develop all Rwandan plots located within such strategic ports and expects Magerwa Ltd to have a comprehensive business plan for the project by end next month.
“Discussions are ongoing and we have to no doubt that Magerwa Ltd will develop the plots because of its new ownership by Portek International which is experienced in port operations,” Munyampenda said yesterday.
Ben Gasamagera, one of the stakeholders and owner of Supa factory which manufactures sanitary tissues is optimistic that once the dry ports are developed, the prices of imports will go down.
“If we are to choose which port is to be developed first, we would go for Isaka because it is near Rwanda and commonly used by the Rwandan business community,” Gasamajera said. Isaka is located 485kms away from Kigali and 982 kms away from Dar es Salaam.
Gasamajera said importers pay US$5,500 per 27 tonne cargo truck including transit clearance while Mombassa charges US$6000 on the same cargo for a period of two weeks.