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East Africa Standard Gauge Railway Gets Closer to Rwanda, Reports KT Press

October 18, 2014 Rail No Comments Email Email

A Chinese construction company, China Harbor Engineering, has been contracted to build a $13.5b railway to offload the region with costly and slower transport.

The standard gauge railway line that will stretch from Kenya to Kampala, Uganda’s capital, is expected to bring down journeys to only two days, from the current eight. The line will also be extended to Rwanda.

Studies on KampalaKigali segment started in July – to be complete by July 2015. The cost of this segment is estimated at $1.2b.

The 2,000-kilometer line will ease transport of goods from Rwanda, DR Congo, South Sudan, and Uganda, heading to Kenya’sMombasa port on the Indian Ocean.

Trains carrying heavy weights will be travelling at 120km/h, fostering speedy imports and exports.

The whole project is expected to be complete by 2018, costing $13.5b. China Exim Bank is among the main financiers.

On October 8, Presidents of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, and Salva Kiir of South Sudan launched the construction activities in Kampala.

They also discussed other regional infrastructure projects including energy.

President Kagame said continued integration will eliminate all bottlenecks to business. “We have a clear chance of being where we want to be and shortening the time to get there,” said Kagame.

President Museveni for his part said: “We are here to launch our region into a new era of cheaper transport and cheaper electricity.”

Understandably, for Rwanda, a landlocked country, it has a lot to benefit.

Jules Ndenga from Rwanda’s Ministry of Infrastructure told KT Press that the standard gauge railway will significantly reduce time and cost of transport. “Time accuracy in business will also improve,” he said.

Currently, traders say 30% of the cost on goods is incurred on transport alone. “If a businessman in Kigali orders a product fromBeijing, they can know exactly when it is arriving,” said Ndenga. “It will also boost regional integration and boost our economies.”

The project is the most expensive venture the East African community is undertaking. It will serve as a gateway to the rest of the world, easing the flow of imports and exports from the Far East as well as the Americas.

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