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.
The EU-AITF technical assistance (TA) grant helped to fund the first stage of project preparation. One of the key studies, a Bankable Market Forecast Study, established the freight volume for the various types of goods and their respective transport routes to ultimate markets within the Lake Victoria Basin, examined potential port locations, and calculated the current cost of transportation for each category of goods to illustrate the cost advantage that marine transport would generate. An economic impact assessment and a preliminary scoping study on the environmental impacts of the project were also initiated during this first phase. A TA of an additional EUR 1.4m for the co-funding of the remaining preparation work (ESIA, Legal and Institutional Framework Assessment and others) was approved by the EU-AITF Executive Committee in December 2015.