President Paul Kagame today officially inaugurated the Kigali logistics platform, Rwanda’s largest inland cargo handling facility as the country bids to become a regional logistics hub.
The Kigali Logistics Platform was constructed by Dubai Ports World, a United Arab Emirates firm under a 25-year concession agreement with the Government of Rwanda signed in 2016. It has been operational since September last year in test mode.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, President Kagame said:
“I congratulate Dubai ports on successfully completing the test phase, which has already demonstrated significant reductions in truck turn-around time. 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 Kigali Logistics Platform is really getting up and running at a pivotal moment in our continent’s economic transformation. We, therefore, want to challenge our business people and investors, starting with the industries located in this neighbourhood and from the region and beyond, to make full use of this facility. There is no excuse not to pursue the vast opportunities available to us.”
The platform has already contributed to socio-economic progress through the creation of 667 direct and indirect jobs, with 98% of them being Rwandans.
The US$35 million project spans over 130,000 square meters, including a 12,000 square meter container yard and a 19,600 square meter warehousing facility. It has an annual capacity of 640,000 tonnes of warehousing space.
Speaking at the event, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, DP World Chairman and CEO, said:
“We believe in the economic potential of Rwanda and the African Great Lakes region. DP World is proud to support Rwanda in its ambitions to establish itself as a key services and trade hub for the region, and to accelerate further economic growth by sharing our knowledge and expertise in innovation and technology. As we inaugurate Kigali Logistics Platform, we are delighted by the impact it has already had on businesses and the community. We look forward to building on our strategic partnership with the Rwandan government to expand the logistics and trade sector, by empowering the Rwandan people to increase the attractiveness of the country as a key trade hub in Africa.”
The Kigali logistics platform uses state-of-the-art technologies to ensure maximum security and transparency for its customers. It is the only cargo terminal in Rwanda monitored by 24-hour CCTV with customers able to access real-time tracking through mobile and online portals.
It has articulated forklifts and modern narrow aisle racking system (VNA) in the warehouses to reduce operational time – a first for Rwanda and only the second of its kind in Africa.
When operating at full capacity, it has the potential to save Rwandan businesses up to US$50 million a year in logistics costs.
Clare Akamanzi, the Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board said;
“Today marks a new milestone for our logistics and export sector. The Kigali Logistics Platform will improve access of Rwandan businesses to international markets and increase investments in Rwanda. In the long run, Rwanda hopes to become a logistics hub for the region and beyond and we invite everybody to come and trade with Rwanda.”
Since the commencement of its operations, Kigali Logistics Platform has reduced truck-turnaround time which used to be an average of 10-14 days to just 3 days.
The Kigali Logistics Platform serves as a gateway to the heart of Africa, connecting Rwanda to neighbouring countries including the D.R Congo, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. The facility will also ease access to the ports of Mombasa in Kenya and Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania especially with the construction of the Standard Gauge Railways from Kenya and Tanzania to Kigali.
Notably, the Kigali-Dar es Salaam railway will have its final cargo rail siding located at the Kigali Logistics Platform. This will significantly reduce logistics costs for exports and imports to the coast. At present, it costs three times more to transport a container from Kigali to Dar-es-Salaam as it does to transport the same container from Dar-es-Salaam to Shanghai.
DP World and the government of Rwanda are exploring the expansion of Kigali Logistics Platform to Phase 1.2 and Phase 2 to increase efficiency and provide more logistics solutions.