Logistics firms to hold talks in August to discuss bottlenecksImports of transport and logistics services make up 55 pc of Uganda’s total service imports.
July 10—Ugandan logistic firms are teaming up with relevant government institutions to organize an expo intended to highlight bottlenecks and find solutions in the industry amidst moves for closer regional integration in the East African Community (EAC).
“Right now, the sector is fragmented. There is also no specific regulations, or statistics on the sector. If we are going to participate competitively in the EAC and beyond, we must be organised as a sector in the areas I have mentioned,” Hussein Kiddedde, who chairs the Uganda Freight Forwarders Association (UFFA) said during news conference Tuesday.
A notable characteristic of Uganda’s freight business was expressed in a 2017 report published by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), ‘Most of the cargo transport between Mombasa and Kampala occurs in an outbound direction, i.e. trucks driving towards Kampala are typically fully loaded while trucks driving in the direction of Mombasa are often empty’.
UFFA, in partnership with the National Logistics Platform, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and the Ministry of Transport and Works is to hold the Second Regional Logistics Expo 2019 on August 21 in Kampala.
Officials said they want to bring together the public and private sector to discuss developments, challenges and the way forward for the logistics sector.
Private Sector Foundation-Uganda (PSFU) executive director, Gideon Badagawa said Uganda is well positioned to be a regional trade distribution hub. However he said there is a need for the logistics sector to reorganize due to its importance in the regional supply chain.
“There is a trade logistics hub that will soon be established in Gulu by TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) and we expect more developments in the sector. We only have to be organized,” he said. TMEA is a non-profit consultancy that channels major donor funding into projects that help increase efficiency the regional trading system.
The proposed $8.8 million Gulu Hub is being mostly financed by the European Union and UK’s Department for International Development. The transport and works ministry is the local partner in a bid to streamline freight movement between the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and northern Uganda.
Kiddedde said the expo will help unravel the numerous policy and regulatory challenges that are hindering competitiveness, including inconsistent vehicle axle load control limits, dimensions, operational costs and controversial tariff rates.
According to another report commissioned by the World Bank Group in 2016 and compiled by Matt Macdonald, imports of transport and logistics services make up 55 pc of Uganda’s total service imports while Uganda’s transport and logistics exports are only 3.7% of Uganda’s total services exports.
The ODI report stated that Ugandan truckers are typically active on routes going west or north from Kampala, leaving the eastward routes between Kampala and Mombasa to Kenyan truckers.
Kiddedde said, “We intent to align our views on whatever is happening in the EAC and beyond so that we can position freight logistics better to meet the dynamic demands of the projects and opportunities.”
Badagawa appealed to the government to ensure the business environment is made secure and safe by putting in place measures that increase efficiency including good, safe roads, and timely clearance of goods.