INFRASTRUCTURE

Kenya targets EAC export market with rail, Kisumu Port

Uganda among the biggest target market

In Summary

•Uganda accounts for 28.6 per cent of Kenya's total exports to Africa.

•It also accounts for 83.2 per cent of transit cargo through the port of Mombasa.

A ship loaded with cooking oil at Kisumu Port for export to Uganda on Lake Victoria.
KISUMU PORT: A ship loaded with cooking oil at Kisumu Port for export to Uganda on Lake Victoria.
Image: MAURICE ALAL

Kenya is keen to grow its trade, mainly exports to regional countries through the Lake Victoria waters, according to National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani.

This, he said, will be driven by investment in rail and the Kisumu Port which will be linked to the Mombasa Port through the Metre Gauge Rail(MGR).

Rehabilitation work on the 216 kilometres Naivasha-Kisumu railway line is underway, and will be connected to the SGR which runs from Mombasa to the Suswa Station (Naivasha), which hosts an Inland Container Depot.

According to Yatani, connection of the MGR to the refurbished Kisumu port ease movement of passengers and goods such as fertiliser, cement, rice, edible oil, and spare parts, among others.

The overhaul of the Naivasha – Kisumu railway is being spearheaded by a multi-agency team coordinated by the Kenya Defense Forces,” Yatani says in the Draft 2021 Budget Policy Statement
Treasury CS Ukur Yatani

Target export destinations include Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“The overhaul of the Naivasha–Kisumu railway is being spearheaded by a multi-agency team coordinated by the Kenya Defense Forces,” Yatani says in the Draft 2021 Budget Policy Statement.

Dredging of the port area and the vessels channel at Lake Victoria is also ongoing as the government targets larger and more vessel.

AU's special envoy for infrastructure Raila Odinga , who commissioned the dredging last Saturday, said the project involves expansion of the port's length by another 400 meters in the next six months.

"I have been told once this is done, even more than ten ships can dock at the port at the same time,"  he said.

A properly working rail and lake transport system will be a boost to regional trade where Uganda remains Kenya's leading trading partner.

Over the Covid-19 pandemic period, trade between the two countries has slowed down on delays at the main Busia and Malaba borders, as both countries continue to implement measures to curb the spread of the virus.

Kenya’s key imports from Uganda include milk and cream, tobacco, cane, electrical energy and plywood among others.

Dominant exports from Kenya are mainly palm oil and its fractions, iron or non-alloy steel, petroleum oils and salt among other goods.

Uganda accounts for 28.6 per cent of Kenya's total exports to Africa.

As of August last year,the value of Kenya’s exports to Uganda increased to $88 million (Sh9.7 billion ) a jump from $53.9 million (Sh6 billion )in the same period the previous year.

 Uganda exports to Kenya on the other hand stood at $46.9 million (Sh5.3 billion), a slight decline from $48.3 million (Sh5.2 billion)the same period in 2019, according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics.

Uganda also accounts for 83.2 per cent of transit cargo through the port of Mombasa. South Sudan takes up 9.9 per cent while DR Congo, Tanzania and Rwanda account for 7.2 per cent, 3.2 per cent and 2.4 per cent respectively.

The Lake Victoria water transport network connects Kenya Kisumu Port to  Mwanza, Musoma and Bukoba Lake facilities  in Tanzania and Uganda's  Entebbe, Port Bell and Jinja ports.

Currently, Kenya Railways is the main Kenyan player in the lake transport, where it is moving fuel cargo using its MV Uhuru vessel.