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Two Foreign Firms Want to Operate Uganda’s Cargo Hub

Two Foreign Firms Want to Operate Uganda’s Cargo Hub


A US$25 million cargo hub that Uganda’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has set its sights on in the next phase of developing Entebbe International Airport is generating a lot of interest.

Two groups one from South Africa and another from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have expressed interest in developing the project, which has been designed as a build, operate and transfer project. The CAA’s public affairs manager, Mr. Ignie Igunduura said the airports and aviation body was seeking a joint venture with a private partner like tour operators in Uganda.  We have had several groups showing interest. Most of them have made the first contact, Igunduura said. We have given them everything they need to come back with concrete proposals, which we expect any time from now.

The investors who have showed interest are responding to invitations from CAA asking local and international businesses to further assess the financial viability of the project. The cargo centre is provided for under CAA’s 20-year master plan. The centre will have the capacity to hold 500,000 metric tonnes of cargo per annum according the designs, which have been completed.

The holding capacity of the cargo centre is designed to meet anticipated growth in cargo volumes up to 2012. Existing cargo facilities are too small to meet present and future volumes.

A South African company, Africon, has done the designs of the facility, which will occupy six acres at the airport. The proposed cargo centre elements include construction of cargo building (perishable cargo), cargo building (dry cargo), freight forwarders building, customs building, truck off-loading area, vehicle parking area and roads – cargo aircraft apron and taxiways. It also involves construction of an access road to the cargo centre and construction and installation of support utilities.

Mr. Ambrose Akandonda, CAA’s managing director said cargo traffic at Entebbe had risen from 20,000 metric tonnes nine years ago to 64,000 by the turn of last year. The facility will cater for dry and wet cargo and have utilities like chillers and cold storage facilities. “CAA is looking at three options that include involvement of the private sector to build, operate and transfer the facility after an agreed period” Akandonda said at the start of this year when the revelation for the facility was made.

We want to interest the private sector to come into warehousing, which has a turnaround on investment, while CAA provides the aeronautical support infrastructure like paved areas for aircraft, parking and taxi ways.

Airlines are growing their cargo business and Entebbe cannot pull big cargo carriers if such a facility was not in place. One such airline is Emirates, which is rapidly expanding its network. This according to CAA will help Uganda move its cargo to various markets. The Emirates cargo service has increased from a daily flight to four flights a week into Entebbe, signaling significant growth in trade between Uganda and the rest of the world. According to Uganda’s “big push strategy”, the government is looking at turning Uganda into an air cargo centre of excellence in Africa because of its strategic central location.

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