By Frank Kamuntu
Traders in Uganda involved in the importation and exportation of goods have been urged to maximally utilize the recently expanded Mombasa port, in Kenya.
Ambassador Katureebe Tayebwa Uganda’s consul general to Mombasa, made these remarks when he was speaking at the 3rd Trade and Business Facilitation Symposium, which was hosted by the Uganda Consulate in Mombasa, Kenya on Monday.
The symposium, which was attended by among others Ugandan and Kenyan traders, will run up to August 14, 2019.
Tayebwa advised Ugandans to use the existence and expansion of the Mombasa Port and the newly constructed Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) arm to Nairobi as one of the measures of reducing transportation costs and to smoothly run importation and exportation of merchandise.
Tayebwa said “The expanded Standard Gauge Railway will give Ugandan traders an opportunity to bring in more goods.”
He added that “There is a variety of export products that pass through this port. For example, most of Uganda’s tea exports go through the Mombasa Tea Auction, the biggest in the whole world.”
He noted that this business symposium gives countries the opportunity to appreciate Kenya’s initiatives to improve infrastructure especially the expansion of Mombasa port and construction of the first phase of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Mombasa to Naivasha.
East Africa and Uganda’s share of imports and exports amounts to 82 per cent of all transit cargo through Port Mombasa
The expansion means large vessels operated by top shipping lines will dock at the port on a regular basis to load and offload cargo, a critical development for countries like Uganda that depend on Mombasa for export-import trade. Uganda’s main export, coffee, also goes through Mombasa port.
His excellence President Yoweri Museveni in March 2019, while on a visit to Kenya, said his counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta had given Uganda land in Naivasha to construct a dry cargo port which would act as a holding port for Uganda’s cargo that lands in Mombasa.
All these, according to Tayebwa, will facilitate Ugandan traders’ smooth movement of goods into and out of the country.
Until the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway arm to Kampala, Uganda traders will continue facing high transportation costs for imports and exports.
Tayebwa said he was hopeful the railway line would be completed expeditiously to save traders from exorbitant transportation costs.