Rwanda has secured a dry port in the Kenyan town of Naivasha which could ease the country’s access to the port of Mombasa for exports and imports.
The dry port which is located about 560km from the Port of Mombasa will among other things reduce the journey freight trucks have to take for outbound exports and inbound imports.
Goods will be ferried to and from the inland port to Mombasa via rail which is cheaper and faster compared to road transport.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Vincent Biruta said that the dry port will allow imports to be received in Naivasha as opposed to Mombasa which will reduce the distance covered by road for goods destined to Rwanda or exported from Rwanda as well as costs of logistics.
Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Kenya, Richard Masozera this week visited the dry port at Naivasha Inland Container Depot (ICD).
So far, Biruta said that the government is in consultation with the private sector to establish ways to make the most of the dry port.
Naivasha is located on the shores of Lake Victoria.
There are also discussion on how the country can use Lake Victoria to transport the goods up to Port Bell in Kampala which would further reduce the cost of transport.
The development could to an extent reduce the cost of imports in the country through Mombasa as well as competitiveness of Rwanda’s exports as operational costs go down.
This will complement the Dar es Salaam route through the Central Corridor where a significant volume of cargo goes through.
As of 2018, unofficial estimates put the cost of shipping a six-metre-long container from Shanghai China to Mombasa at between US$500 to US$1000, a distance of about 10,000 kilometres while the transport costs for the same container from Mombasa to Kigali are estimated up to US$4000, a distance of about 1400km by road in about two days.
Reduction of the 1400km distance by road will to a great extent reduce the cost of goods and consequently competitiveness.
With a significant volume of imports is capital and intermediary goods, the development could further mean that reduced cost of projects in Rwanda.
Manasseh Nshuti the Minister in charge of East African Community (EAC) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said that as a landlocked country, it is important to find solutions to access ports.
“Naivasha to Mombasa is 560km. Goods will use rail reducing road transport which is more expensive and time-consuming. Naivasha to Kigali will be shorter. We also have two options, Naivasha to Kigali by road, or we can use Naivasha to Kisumu via road which is about 200km, then barges from Kisumu to Port Bell in Uganda. By sea it will be cheaper,” Nshuti said.