B-NP Magazine

How is transport through lake Tanganyika?

On Burundi side, Tanganyika is not sufficiently exploited despite its potential and advantages. 90 % of goods imports arrive by road, a less secure means of transport.

Investing in lake transport is a safe solution. Experts have proven that the cost of goods transport can be halved when using the lake route. That’s why two mega projects are to be launched on the Bujumbura port, located on Tanganyika. The first, 50 billion BIF, is a part of regional package aimed at rehabilitating and modernizing different port facilities to improve regional connectivity. The second is about starting a boat building and repair workshop for US $ 25 million.

The share of private investors remains paramount. Look; About 55 ships dock Bujumbura port, of which 15 belong to the burundian flag. However, they are very old. The average age of burundian ships is estimated at 45 years, with a gap of 71 years between the oldest and the most recent ones. Moreover, the three mixed vessels capable of carrying both general cargo and containers have a deadweight ranging only from 320 to 1350 tons. A capacity not exceeding ten containers per vessel. There is an urgent need for new and large capacity vessels.

With an annual capacity of around 500,000 tons, Bujumbura port is located in northern lake Tanganyika. It is at the confluence of three corridors: northern corridor (Mombasa), central corridor (Dar-Es-Salaam) and southern one (Mpulungu-Zambia).

Why choose lake to roads?

The main challenges with road transportation include the long leads (nearly 1,500 km) from the largest international gateway ports such as Dar-es-Salaam and Mombasa. Furthermore, road transportation is directly affected by transit countries’ Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs), poor logistics, as well as burdensome cross-border, customs and other administrative procedures. All that constitutes a major constraint to growth.

Each year, 400,000 tons (equivalent of US $ 64 million) imported by Burundi pass through the port of Dar-Es-Salaam. As these quantities arrive largely by road, their transport cost becomes high.

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