The construction of the standard gauge railway is progressing well after the allocation of 370,000 square metres for both the passenger and cargo terminals.
The passenger terminal will be located at Ndera while the cargo station will be located at Masaka — two growing industrial, commercial and residential areas northeast of Kigali city.
The stations will be linked by bus rapid transit and express highways making the areas transport hubs.
“The SRG terminals had to be integrated in the ongoing development systems,” said Fabrice Barisanga, the planning division manager at the Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA).
“These areas are strategically located as terminals for the regional standard gauge railway links from Uganda and Tanzania,” he added. Officials say the country’s logistics industry is currently dominated by foreigners who are competitive on pricing and other services.
“The main objective of the SGR is to bring down transport costs,” said Mr Barisanga.
He revealed that the SGR will also be extended to Bugesera International Airport at a cost of $85 million — an mount analysts say is worth it as the airport will generate passenger traffic and freight cargo for both the airport and railway.
Studies show that in its first phase, Bugesera International Airport will have a capacity to handle one million passengers and 150 million tonnes of cargo annually. The subsequent phases will follow with higher passenger and cargo capacities.
The country is ready to tap into the railway links on both the northern and central corridor.
However, the speed at which Tanzania and Uganda extend their lines to Rwanda’s borders will dictate which corridor the country will use first.
“We depend on both the central and northern corridors for imports and exports. Whoever comes to us first, we shall connect to that line,” said Mr Barisanga.
The country remains hopeful about the delivery of the Kampala-Kigali standard gauge railway line with officials saying that the design is complete.
“We are now at fund mobilisation stage,” said an RTDA official who said the route for the railway line from Kampala has been mapped out. The route from Kampala-Kigali will go through Nyagatare, Gatsibo, Gicumbi, Rwamagana, Gasabo and will terminate at Masaka for cargo and Ndera for passengers,” said the official.
However, the Kampala-Kigali SGR faces challenges as delays in Kenya on raising financing for the Kisumu-Malaba stretch will affect the delivery of the section.
The progress in Tanzania is encouraging industrial players as the construction of the Isaka-Rusumo-Kigali stretch is set to start soon.
Government officials could not commit on the exact time the SGR construction works will start. They said the project is still at the transaction advisor level.
Last year in September, a Turkish firm was awarded a second contract worth $1.92 billion to construct the line between Morogoro and Makutupora.
Officials add that Tanzanian authorities have advertised for designing and building services for the Makutupora-Tabora-Isaka-Mwanza sections of the railway line.