Maintaining and strengthening a competitive position of trade and Logistics might help Uganda to bump up self of the situation with a competitive advantage across East Africa.
As a landlocked country, Uganda faces higher trade and transport costs than its coastal partners Kenya and Tanzania. Superior logistics, would offer Uganda improved potential for economic gains.
Given the structure of Uganda’s economy, logistics are very important.
Agriculture accounts for 42%, while manufacturing accounts for at 9% and mining at 6% (and set to grow with the discovery of oil). Combined, these sectors account for 57% of Uganda’s GDP.
However, these sectors require transportation of large quantities of freight of low to medium value. This makes Uganda’s economic performance intensively transport dependent.
With this background, the Private Sector Foundation Uganda set up a Logistics Committee called Clearing, Transport and Haulage in 2014. It was through this committee that support was sought from Trademark East Africa to help fund and guide the design and implementation of the National Logistics Platform.
Maintaining and strengthening a competitive position as a logistics hub will require Uganda to make the right policy choices. It is difficult to ignore that alternative routes progressively improve in terms of security and costs for landlocked destinations such as South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC.
Therefore, for Uganda to remain a competitive route, it needs to develop a comprehensive strategy to enhance logistics. Without a clear vision on the development of logistic corridors and the place of Uganda in the regional logistic landscape, it would be difficult to formulate optimal policy to attract investment in the sector.
There is a real danger that Uganda and its logistic service industries will lag behind and only stay a market for large regional firms.
In addition to the efforts towards setting up a Logistics Platform, TMEA is also supporting the construction of a logistics hub in Gulu. This project seeks to reduce the time and costs for transporters, traders and producers of goods. The hub will enable traders to store, bulk and de-bulk products for distribution in the region and wider Southern Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo populations.
TMEA will work with Ministry of Works, RVR, Uganda Railways Corporation, Apex Freight Forwarders Associations and the Private Sector to develop and utilize the facility. Setting up the hub will require policy aspects that will be channeled through the National Logistics Platform.
Northern Uganda remains the easiest gateway into Southern Sudan and Eastern DRC. Gulu and Northern Uganda borders South Sudan and has the potential to feed the entire Horn of Africa.
Since peace returned to Gulu it has become land filed with a lush maize, rice and sesame farms among commercial forests funded by foreign agribusiness investors.
The logistics hub will provide a neat, efficient and centralized means of exercising control of cargo through standards monitoring, sanitary and phytosanitary control and collection of customs duties on cross border trade, the government also believes that establishment of the Gulu logistics hub will result in an increase of trade flows which will be beneficial to the Northern Uganda region and the country as a whole.
The Gulu Logistics Hub Project is part of the 2030 Master Plan on Logistics in the Northern Economic Corridor that is being implemented by the government with a vision to be the ‘’Leading Economic Corridor `with Integrated Transport and logistics Systems In Africa.’’
The National Logistics Platform with support from Trademark East Africa and UK Aid is a key partner in the upcoming Regional Logistics Expo to take place from 25th – 27th April 2017 at the Kampala Serena under the theme, ‘Transforming Uganda into a Logistics Hub – What is your role?’. The Expo expects to assess where the country is with particular regard to the policy, legal and regulatory environment and human capacity in the sector.
The NLP is tasked with tracking progress and providing a monitoring and evaluation platform to ensure the right investments in the sector are made in the strategic areas to achieve the Logistics Hub status.