Kigali Logistics Platform: A gateway to the heart of Africa

By Sumeet Bhardwaj
On 2 April 2024 at 01:13

Views expressed in this article are of the writer. Sumeet Bhardwaj is the Chief Executive Officer of DP World Rwanda.

This year marks 5 years since DP World Rwanda commenced operations, following a 35-year concession agreement with the Government of Rwanda to build, develop and operate the Kigali Logistics Platform (KLP) – Rwanda’s first and largest inland dry port and logistics hub. It’s been a privilege to see the concept materialise and to lead the business since inception. As DP World, we are extremely proud of what we have achieved in this short period of time to develop a strategic asset in the country, and we are excited about our future prospects as we pursue our vision of becoming the gateway to the heart of Africa.

The African Union reports that intra-African trade stands at only 13% and poor infrastructure poses a major challenge to the supply of goods and services across the continent. The development of ports and other infrastructure in Africa, enabling trade by enhancing logistics and supply chain solutions, is critical for Rwanda and the broader continent’s economic growth prospects. The development of port infrastructure to boost intra-Africa trade and easing supply chain bottlenecks is aligned to Rwanda’s economic ambitions.

According to the World Bank, Rwanda seeks to attain Middle Income Country status by 2035 and High-Income Country status by 2050, underpinned by private sector investment and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Moreover, Rwanda is also a proponent of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, which calls for the elimination of trade barriers to boost the movement of goods and services within a single continental market.

As DP World Rwanda positions itself as the preferred logistics hub and gateway to the heart of Africa, the KLP is central to driving trade in the region by offering end-to-end logistics and supply chain solutions, and provides seamless connectivity with the two key seaports of Mombasa (Kenya) and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania). With Rwanda sharing a border with Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the KLP is strategically located to be the backbone of the supply chain by providing end-to-end logistics solutions for customers in the East African Community (EAC) and the broader sub-Saharan African region.

Our comprehensive offering includes warehousing, Container Freight Solutions (CFS), Inland Container Depot (ICD), transportation, clearing and forwarding, and cold storage facilities, among other efficient and cost-effective trade solutions. We have invested significantly in our facilities to enhance our service offering and footprint in Rwanda, with the most recent investment being the inauguration of two custom-built warehouses and a new custom building, which now serves as the new Commissioner of Customs headquarters. DP World Rwanda also has additional expansion plans in the pipeline, as we strive to build a world-class logistics facility with a comprehensive footprint to serve the region.

Our concession agreement with the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) to operate and modernise the multi-purpose Dar es Salaam Port further enhances KLP’s regional proposition for clients and customers. The primary objective of optimising the Dar es Salaam Port’s operations is ultimately to improve transport and logistics services throughout Tanzania and its hinterland, as the Port will connect to the hinterland of the EAC & sub-Saharan Africa through a network of roads, highways, railways and dedicated freight corridors and lake ports. This is in support of the growing demand for logistics solutions across the continent and connecting businesses in the region to global markets.

DP World Rwanda also remains committed to the country’s socioeconomic development and inclusive growth agenda. In line with our commitment to creating a positive and social impact wherever we work, KLP’s workforce is predominantly Rwandan, and indirectly supports 2,000 families. Further, we place a strong emphasis on women empowerment and gender equality in the business, and we are passionate about contributing to the surrounding communities by supporting job creating business projects, as well as various community initiatives focused on education, health, women and children.

DP World continues to make significant investments to realise its Africa strategy and growth ambitions, which aim to boost economic growth and uplift local communities and businesses through enabling trade and connecting markets to the global trade ecosystem. As we transform the KLP into the preeminent logistics hub in the heart of Africa, DP World Rwanda looks forward to continuing to drive intra-Africa trade to contribute to the development of Rwanda and the EAC, in partnership with the visionary leadership of the Rwandan government, as well as other key stakeholders and partners.

Sumeet Bhardwaj is the Chief Executive Officer of DP World Rwanda.
An employee moving cargo in the warehouse
DP World continues to make significant investments to realise its Africa strategy and growth ambitions.