Rwanda completes modern international port expected to boost regional trade

By Esther Muhozi
On 2 February 2024 at 11:30

At the New port of Lake Kivu, adjacent to the Bralirwa factory, a constant flow of people engages in a symphony of activity from morning till evening.

Ships are loaded with goods destined for neighboring countries, while merchants and customers prepare for transactions that promise mutual benefits. Amidst this lively atmosphere, dreams of development are fervently articulated.

A recent addition to Lake Kivu’s shores, in the Rubavu District, stands a new port designed to streamline the transportation of goods to neighboring countries and the Western Province. Four colossal cargo ships, each capable of carrying luggage equivalent to approximately 20 trucks, dominate the port between 7:00 AM and 4:00 PM. One such ship, named Noah, has already been loaded, with 15 dockers busy packing plastic materials nearby.

As the ships jostle for space, the port showcases a blend of old and new. Modern buildings surround the area, signaling a shift towards enhanced facilities for the loading and unloading of goods. The port boasts a width exceeding 220 meters, equipped with 12 large piers for accommodating substantial cargo ships and additional spaces for smaller vessels.

Efficient logistics are apparent, with designated areas for cargo and private vehicles to enter and exit. The completion of construction work is evident, as the Rubavu District Executive Secretary, Ruhamyambuga Olivier, highlights the imminent opening of the new port buildings. These facilities are poised to usher in a new era of trade, facilitating the movement of goods between Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and other countries.

Ruhamyambuga emphasizes the strategic location of the port, facilitating trade with neighboring countries through Lake Kivu. He underscores the preference of Congolese traders for this route, citing proximity and cost-efficiency as driving factors. The port aims to reduce transportation costs for goods destined for Rwanda’s growing industries from ports like Tanzania and Mombasa.

Announcing the port’s status as a modern international facility, Ruhamyambuga envisions it connecting Rwanda with the East African and Great Lakes region. "We have completed a very large, modern international port, which meets the requirements, which connects us with the Democratic Republic of the Congo," he states. The completed port is expected to enhance economic prospects for the Rubavu region and the nation as a whole.

Despite an initially estimated budget of 7 billion Frw, recent information suggests a significant increase in costs. Nevertheless, with its modern infrastructure, strategic location, and international connectivity, the Lake Kivu port emerges as a pivotal hub for trade, poised to catalyze economic development in Rwanda and beyond.