Rwanda’s port – creating a hub for Intra-African trade

Rwanda’s port – creating a hub for Intra-African trade
By Armelle Nga
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One of the largest in-land ports in Africa, Kigali Logistics Platform, is working towards a different kind of management system to create a faster and more efficient process for its customers. The first phase cost an estimated €31 million and was financed by logistics giant Dubai Port World.


One of the largest dry ports (30 hectares) in-land in Africa is working towards a different kind of management system to create a faster and more efficient process for its customers. It means landlocked countries will be free from market-barriers.

Kigali Logistics Platform (KLP) at the capital of Rwanda, a land-locked country, said it's creating a logistical hub for the region. The company said it bases its strategy on innovation and transparency.

The first phase cost an estimated €31 million (US$35 million) and is financed entirely by the global logistics giant, DP World (Dubai Ports World), for a 20-year concession.

It's part of the Rwandan government's strategy to integrate the local population into the economic development operation and is key to the Intra-African trade.

"What we have is different gateways," explained Dion Thompson, Chief Operating Officer, DP World Kigali. "It provides customers with the location of their products and how much time it will take to get here. It gives them a chance to prepare their finances they'll need for clearing and it also provides them with information to alert their customers with an arrival time of goods. If they have samples, they can start distributing them so that their client sales list is ready to go when their products arrive." 

"This integration at DP World is helping our clients achieve their business targets because, at the end of the day, they must sell their goods," added Philbert Inkindi, Sales Manager DP World Kigali.

Fred Seka, Managing Director, Gorilla Logistics explained how challenging it was for traders before the creation of the new in-land port.

"Before, it took some time to offload. "When it took 7- 10 days for goods to be offloaded from trucks and return to the ships it required more money. If it takes longer than two days, they're required to pay a fee of €181 ($200) per truck. So if you have more than 10-20 containers worth of goods, it'll take more than 10 days to offload so that's a high daily rate. (With the new hub), they're paying the transporters because they have to keep their cargo in the trucks."


The terminal located in Masaka, is 20 kilometres from Kigali, It employs almost 700 permanent and ancillary staff from the country as well as other nationalities, students and interns.

"In the future, I do believe that I will be able to use the basic skills gained from this Kigali logistics platform," explained James Hakizimana, an intern. "Maybe it is possible that I can get the opportunity to be promoted from being a trainee to be an employee."

"So far I have the experience of six months. Now imagine if I complete the 6 months to one year, I will be perfect like someone who is already in the field because I like learning and I am learning a lot from the internship, said Mandela Wilson, an intern. 

"So I believe even after the internship programme I will be able to perform very well because I have worked with an international company DP World which is a big institution which comes with some big benefits," added Wilson.

The future

DP World and the Rwandan government aim to include local communities in this development, by financing development projects that will extend throughout the country.

"After phase 1 DP World hopes to develop phase 1.2 which is another 7 hectares and on that expansion plan we intend to bring in commodity warehouses and we also intend to bring in non-bonded warehousing, packaging, re-packaging, dedicated chemical storage facilities and all is going well, explained Sumeet Bhardwaj, Chief Executive Officer DP World Kigali.

"There will also be an incorporation of cold-store very soon to our current facility. Upon the successful completion of phase one and also phase 1.2 there is also a possibility of developing phase 2," added Bhardwaj.

In addition to facilitating the various toll procedures, Rwanda is a real gateway for neighbouring countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Tanzania and even Burundi - countries among the areas with very high economic growth.

KLP, with a capacity of 50,000 TEUs, that's 50,000 20 foot containers, also has access to the port of Mombasa in Kenya.

It could potentially save Rwandan companies nearly €45 million ($50 million) a year in logistics costs.

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