Lake Victoria is the primary inland waterway servicing both the central and northern corridors. Other inland waterways also provide a big investment potential for container-carrying vessels to service various inland port destinations on lakes Albert, Edward, Kivu, and Tanganyika, and the Kagera and Nile rivers.
Ferry services on Lake Victoria provide multimodal transport from Mombasa and Dar es Salaam through Kisumu and Mwanza ports respectively to Port Bell in Uganda.
EPB (Port of Bujumbura)
In Burundi, the bulk of external trade (80 per cent) is routed through the Port of Bujumbura located at the northern tip of the Lake Tanganyika.
Built in 1959, the Port of Bujumbura was designed to handle a capacity of 200,000 tons but later expanded in the early 1990s. The Port has since been managed by the Société Concessionnaire de l'Exploitation du Port de Bujumbura (EPB) – a public/private partnership - under a lease agreement that is currently being reviewed.
Facilities include 920m of quays, with a draught between 4m and 8m. The port also has an area protected by the two jetties, and the port basin, 450m long and 100m wide, for berthing of the cargo vessels. Cargo handling is on a single day shift.
The current capacity of the port is 500 000 tons, more than twice the average traffic handled over the last ten years. Therefore, there are no plans to further increase capacity. However, in the short term, there are two projects:
For the medium to long term, there will be need to replace the quay cranes, a plan for a gantry crane depending on the growth of the container traffic.
The Port of Kisangani
The National Office of Transport (ONATRA) requires more than US$ 5 million to rehabilitate the port of Kisangani. This amount shall be used for the following activities:
Improvement of inland waterways
There is an evident need to improve port facilities and aids to navigation on inland waterways within the Northern Corridor.
The East African Community is undertaking a project to improve navigation aids and environmental protection on Lake Victoria. Studies are also being carried out on maritime legislation, search and rescue, hydrology, and maritime meteorology.
There is also need to improve port facilities on the lake. The Great Lakes Railway project (rail and lake link from Zambia to Uganda) which includes ferry links over the lakes, if implemented, will require specific facilities.