UGANDAN Minister of State for Works and Transport, Mr Byamukama Fred has expressed his country’s readiness to strengthen business cooperation with Tanzania, following notable improvements in transport infrastructure in the Central Corridor.

He made the remarks mid this week during his tour of Isaka Dry Port in Kahama District of Shinyanga region and Mwanza South Port in Mwanza region, to see the businesses conducted in the Central Corridor.

The minister was delighted with implementation progress of the projects at Mwanza South that include construction of the new ship – MV Mwanza Hapa Kazi Tu and rehabilitation of MV Umoja cargo ship.

“These are multi- billion projects, which will serve not only Uganda and Tanzania but also other neighbouring countries.

Marine transport ensures safety of the cargo and timely delivery,” he said.

Improvements in marine transport will reduce traffic congestion and help the Tanzanian government to save money that could be used to rehabilitate road infrastructure that could have been damaged by heavy trucks.

He gave an example of tonnes of fuel that passed through the Mwanza South Port to Uganda a few months back and arrived safely to the destination.

The Ugandan minister added that the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) will also stimulate business between the two countries.

The Central Corridor Transit Transport Facilitation Agency (CCTTFA) Executive Secretary, Advocate Flory Okandju, said that infrastructure improvement in Tanzania will help to remove trade barriers among East African countries.

He added that improving infrastructure means economic growth, poverty eradication and employment creation.

“We also call upon Ugandan minister to make sure the same infrastructure are also available in his country so that we can strengthen our businesses… we also call on all East African countries to make use of the Central Corridor,” he said.

The Acting Lake Zone Ports Manager, Mr Vincent Stephen, said that cargo volume has been increasing at Mwanza South Port, following improvement of the port infrastructure.

According to him in 2021/2022 the port targeted to receive 195,000 tonnes of cargo but it surpassed the target by receiving 230,000 tonnes. “We expect an increase to between 300,000 and 350,000 tonnes, this year,” he said.

The Acting Chief Executive Officer for Marine Services Company (MSCL), Mr Philemon Bagambilana said that rehabilitation of the cargo ship- MV Umoja is at over 30 per cent.

The rehabilitation involves, among other things, cargo capacity from 19 to 21 wagons and is expected to be completed in February next year.