The Project involves the development of the infrastructure for commercial maritime transportation, and will be composed of two phases. Phase 1 will focus on setting up a low-cost pilot freight service comprising limited investments in the ports and the launch of suitable vessels that are capable of handling mixed freight consisting of bulk cargo (possibly including liquid cargo), intermodal containers and vehicles. The focus of Phase 2 will be on expansion of the pilot stage activities by means of improving the port facilities. The aim of this Phase 2 is to accommodate larger and more complex freight operations including the provision of dredging services and ‘on shore’ infrastructure services. As at December 2017, the project is in the preparation stage. The works on the Market Study & Technical Definition and the Economic Impact Assessment are complete. The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) began in January 2015 and the scoping studies for Uganda and Tanzania are complete, with the full ESIA nearing completion. Physical works on the project are expected to commence after the studies have been completed and a final business plan agreed, now targeted for 2018.
The second EU-AITF technical assistance (TA) grant will help to fund the second phase of project preparation. Key studies currently underway are the legal and regulatory due diligence and regulatory action plan for the Project, and the environmental and social impact assessment for the Project.