A Kenyan-based, Great Lakes Ports Ltd is setting up a Sh9.6 billion ($120 million) dry port in Tororo, Uganda bordering Malaba in Kenya to cut delays witnessed at the congested Port of Mombasa.

Great Lakes Ports Ltd has an agreement with the Government of Uganda for a 35-year lease from commencement of full operations and 10 years exclusivity licence. The firm is also building a $50 million handling facility at Changamwe, Mombasa where all sea-borne Ugandan goods will be passed through and later fed to the Inland Port at Tororo.

Countries like Rwanda and Congo that use Uganda as a transport route for their imports will also have their goods cleared at Tororo. Lengthy delays, double charges and damages including total loss of cargo at Mombasa port are some of the issues that have been raised by importers.

The reason for delays, they say is bureaucracy, congestion and levying of tariffs due to delays by shipping lines.

It is estimated that the cost of transportation from Mombasa to Kampala is four times more expensive than from Singapore to Mombasa. Usually when traders, for example those from Uganda, which is landlocked, fail to clear their goods from Mombasa, they are auctioned, making them lose outrightly.

The Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Revenue Authority, on average, auction 600 containers per year. In money terms, it is about Sh12 billion. In terms of vehicles, an average of 900 units are auctioned annually.