Construction works of Rwanda’s largest inland cargo handling facility nears completion following completion of the first phase. This is according to Sumeet Bhardwaj, Chief Executive Officer of DPW Logistics Rwanda Ltd who hopes the facility will be operational by the end of the next quarter.
The 60ha Masaka based facility had been initially slated to be complete by July this year; however, among the remaining processes is the acquisition of operational permits that will allow the commencement of operations. Bhardwaj says they only acquired the construction permit in August last year. Currently completion and installation of machinery and equipment is underway.
Dubai Ports World (DPW) Group had signed a 25-year concession agreement with the Rwandan government in 2016 to construct and manage the facility dubbed ‘Kigali Logistics Platform’ (KLP).
Once complete, the cargo holding facility is expected to improve efficiency and reduce logistics cost by embracing the use of modern machinery. The facility, which is built on 969,000 sq ft, will have features such as a container yard and a bonded warehouse, among others. The facility is supposed to have 50,000 twenty-foot equivalent units and 640,000 tones of warehousing space.
It is estimated that trucks often spend between a week and 10 days waiting at the current main cargo handling facility. This not only consumes time but also takes up resources as the waiting fees per truck are usually between US $150 and US $200 per day. However, Bhardwaj says the new facility will reduce the waiting time for trucks as it has adequate space for the offloading of cargo. He further said the new facility will also eliminate the waiting costs and allow truckers and clients concentrate elsewhere.
The size and capacity of the facility will allow trucks to deposit their containers at the facility as opposed to waiting until the assets are cleared.”We are also automating the entire process to increase efficiency and over time we will set up a paperless system. We have been conducting training and workshops with stakeholders such as freight-forwarders,” Bhardwaj added.
The second phase of the facility’ construction is currently being signed, with Bhardwaj saying that it has taken up a considerable amount of funding. The initial cost of the facility was estimated at about US $35m.
DPW is also rolling out a mobile application to enable clients to process their cargo online and remotely eliminate the manual processes. “We have also integrated with Bank of Kigali and Rwanda Revenue Authority to enable clients process taxes further easing the process,” he added.
On his part, the Minister for Trade and Industry Vincent Munyeshaka said as per the Government’s agreement with the firm, the new cargo handling facility will address challenges in logistics. He said the agreement will also provide a working space for the firm formerly operating in the main Magerwa dry port as well as other firms and stakeholders.