RWANDA – President Paul Kagame officiated the launch of Dubai Ports (DP) World Kigali Logistics Platform, a new modern inland cargo handling facility expected to ease trade of goods and add impetus to Rwanda’s bid of becoming a regional logistics hub.

According to New Times Rwanda, the new facility, which was established under a public-private partnership framework, is a result of a 25-year concession agreement signed in 2016 between the Government of Rwanda and DP World, a United Arab Emirates-based firm.

The US$35 million facility has the capacity to handle 50,000 containers and 650,000 tonnes of warehousing capacity. 

The facility is expected to reduce the truck-turnaround number from an average of 10 days to three days, significantly bringing down the cost of doing business.

The new facility will help decongest MAGERWA, which handles the majority of Rwanda’s imports and exports.

Fred Seka, the President of the Federation of East African Freight Forwarders Associations (FEAFFA), said that the new facility comes at a time when production output has been increasing, which he said demands more port services.

“What is clear now is that new investors have enabled more production activities to increase. What this means is that there is a need for more transport, clearing and storage services, which the facility is providing,” he said.

“The platform operates fully as a port service, quite different from the existing handling facility (MAGERWA). MAGERWA has been there for more than 49 years, and it is unable to deal with the increasing demand for such services.”

By operating fully as a port, Seka says that traders are now able to get more services.

This includes cargo clearing, transporting, as well as storage and warehousing.

This, he noted, brings about transparency in pricing and efficiency since the traders are not dealing with multiple parties.

The platform is a customs-controlled facility spread over 13 hectares and features an Inland Container Terminal (ICT) with modern warehousing capacity, a container yard, administrative and services buildings and parking areas.

“With the launch of this facility, Rwanda is doing its part to connect with the larger market of more than 1.2 billion consumers in Africa and beyond,” the President noted

“The Kigali Logistics Platform is really getting up and running, at a pivotal moment in our continent’s economic transformation.”

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, the Chairman and the Chief Executive Officer of DP World Group, which operates the port, said they have set their sights on the entire regional market.

“When we were telling people that we will reach the Central African Republic, Burundi, Malawi, and, of course, Tanzania and Kenya, people asked why? It is something we believe in and something we are good at,” he said.

Rwandan traders still grapple with the high cost of shipping cargo in and outside Kigali, but the new platform could contribute to addressing inland logistics problems, delays and costs.