The Shs30.96 billion transport and logistics hub planned in Gulu town under the new programme-Development Initiative for Northern Uganda is in advanced stages with construction works expected to begin soon.
According to officials who are steering the project, the project appraisal report was approved some time back, a pre-feasibility study has been conducted and the project implementation team set up.
The hub is a brainchild of the Ministry of Works and Transport, Gulu Local Government, Uganda Revenue Authority and the National Logistics Platform with the Private Sector Foundation.
Planners of the project say the facility which will act as an inland container depot will be of great significance in the northern region which depends on other distribution hubs established around Kampala and Jinja.
The project to take 41 months will be implemented by TradeMark East Africa. The project will increase trade of commodities within the region, the country and the neighbouring countries through improved transport and logistics infrastructure.
Government and development partners think that the completion of the project will help exporters, importers, and government agencies in Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan and DR Congo.
When it becomes operational, implementers, say it will quicken transit time as well bring about cost savings for businessmen and regulators.
“Populations in northern Uganda will benefit from cheaper products, including food, and connection to markets, thereby providing opportunities for export,” says reads part of the project’s synopsis.
Officials say the hub will also increase the capacity of local farmers to access the markets and facilitate the importation of agriculture inputs.
The document adds that it will contribute to: “reduced barriers to trade for both northern Uganda and the neighbouring countries of South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
The Gulu logistics hub project comes at the time when Uganda in the recent years has played a pivotal role as a distribution hub for South Sudan, DR- Congo.
The Gulu hub is expected to serve the two export markets for Ugandan goods but also for re-exports destined for DRC and South Sudan. It will be a Private-Public Partnership (PPP), with some private sector players expected to come on board, officials say.
The logistics hub will be built at the Gulu Railway station on at least 24 acres provided by the government.