The shortage of warehouse space could soon be history following plans to build a new inland dry port in Masaka, Kicukiro District. According to Francois Kanimba, the Minister for Trade and Industry, the project kicks off within six months.
The port, to be known as the Kigali Logistics Platform, will replace the current Gikondo-based Magasins Generaux de Rwanda (Magerwa), which the private sector says is small considering the growing volume of imports coming into the country.
“We are currently looking for investors to partner with the government to develop the facility,” he said.
The first phase of the project is expected to start within the next six months and be completed in 2017.
“The Kigali Logistics Platform will accommodate all the logistics facilities, including a big container depot, a park yard and warehouses,” Kanimba said on Thursday while touring the proposed port site.
He added that industrialists in the Kigali Special Economic Zone in Nyandungu, Gasabo District have for long been seeking space to store raw materials and finished products.
“We believe developing a big warehouse at the Kigali Logistics Platform will not only serve incoming cargo or that in transit to other countries, but also be used by big players that need a lot of space,” Kanimba explained.
He said discussions were already underway between the government, the district authorities and representatives of the occupants of the 70-hectare piece of land to determine the subsequent compensation package. The cost of the project is also yet to be determined.
Meanwhile, Kanimba said the proposed port will be located along a major highway that links Rwanda to Uganda and Tanzania.
He said it will also help divert the heavy cargo trucks from the Central Business District, easing pressure on city roads.
Hannington Namara, the Private Sector Federation chief executive officer, said the project could ease access to affordable services when completed.
“Business people will also be able to choose between Magerwa and the proposed port, depending on the services offered,” he said.
Rwanda’s imports continue to increase by the year as companies invest more in capital, consumer and intermediary goods, as well as energy and lubricants.
Total imports increased by 2.2 per cent last year, to $2.25b, up from $ 2.2b in 2012, according to the National Bank of Rwanda.Follow https://twitter.com/Ben_Gasore