The Uganda Freight Forwarders Association (UFFA) and the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP), are jointly organizing the inaugural Regional Logistics EXPO 2017 and the 3rd Annual Oil & Gas Convention scheduled for April 25 to April 27, 2017 at Serena Hotel.
The joint event will be held under two themes: “Transforming Uganda into a Regional Logistics Hub - What is your role?” and “Oil & Gas Doors Open in Uganda”.
Announcing the upcoming event on Monday, April 10, 2017, Dr Elly Karuhaga, the Chairman of the UCMP, noted that more than 800,000 tonnes of equipment is expected to be transported to the Albertine oil region as Uganda seeks to achieve First Oil by 2020.
“After the launch of the Front End Engineering Design (FEED) for the crude export pipeline from Hoima to the Port of Tanga in Tanzania and the same for Nwoya and Buliisa exploration areas, the stage is now set for Uganda’s oil and gas industry to take off. This presents a huge opportunity for our freight and logistics counterparts,” said Karuhanga.
“However, for this to be realized, the logistics industry has to attain very high capacity and become extremely efficient. Hence this upcoming forum intends to come up with solutions that will boost our logistics to meet the high demands of the oil sector," he added.
As such, Karuhanga noted, with over 1,000 delegates expected from across the world, the symposium will present an opportunity for joint-venture partnerships within the logistics industry, between local players and their large international counterparts to build the capacity needed to serve the oil industry.
Echoing the importance of collaborating with the oil and gas sector, Mrs. Jennifer K Mwijukye, the outgoing chairperson of the UFFA acknowledged that indeed these were exciting times for the two business associations, hence the need to join forces and define strategic economic interventions that can spur sustained economic growth in Uganda.
“Both the logistics and oil industries believe that transforming Uganda into a regional logistics’ hub will significantly help the country attain its middle income aspirations,” noted Mwijukye.
Adding, “It’s only natural that being the main organization in transport and logistics, the UFFA takes the lead in championing the call for Uganda’s transformation into a logistics hub.”
A logistics hub can be defined as a central distribution area or a location designated for logistics activities. Normally these are established for strategic economic reasons that call for input from various stakeholders.
“A regional logistics hub in Uganda is a no-brainer because of our strategic geographic location as a next door neighbor to the large markets of South Sudan and DRC that would make organized cross-border trade lucrative. It is high time we exploited our land-linked-ness rather than always lamenting about being landlocked,” Mwijukye said.
In addition, she said, the hub would enhance exports, boost industrialization while transforming upcountry towns like Tororo, Kasese and Gulu into cities that would comfortably accommodate the high demands of the petroleum industry especially in the storage and handling of bulk products.
Dr Merian Sebunya, a board member of the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), one of the partners of the event, said that certainly Uganda’s entire economic performance was intensively transport dependent, hence their coming on board to support the symposium.
“Uganda's key sectors of agriculture, manufacturing, mining and very soon oil, require transportation of large quantities of freight of low to medium value. This has compelled the PSFU to establish the National Logistics Platform, with support from Trademark East Africa, that seeks to develop a comprehensive strategy to enhance the logistics industry," Sebunya said.
Gerald Ekinu, from the Ministry of Works and Transport, also pledged government’s support to the Expo and Convention, noting the urgent need for an efficient logistics and transportation industry in Uganda.
Apart from, the Principal Economist Ministry of Works & Transport, PSFU and Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA), other partners include the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, the World Bank and UKAID.