“Central corridor Dar-es-Salaam-Kigoma-Bujumbura is cheaper, faster and less risky”

The Association of International Transport Operators in Burundi (ATIB) encourages Burundi economic operators to use the central corridor connecting Dar-es-Salaam and Kigoma by rail and Kigoma to Bujumbura by waterway through Lake Tanganyika. Eric Ntangaro, ATIB executive secretary says this lake route is faster, cheaper and less risky compared to the road.

Eric Ntangaro, executive secretary of the Association of International Transport Operators in Burundi

Why isn’t the central corridor connecting the port of Dar-es-Salaam, Kigoma and Bujumbura often used?

Many Burundian economic operators are unaware of the benefits they would gain from using this waterway while others do not know that this route is working. Burundians have not used this route for 10 years because the railway trucks connecting Dar-es-Laam and Kigoma were damaged. They used the central corridor connecting the port of Dar-es-Salaam to Bujumbura via Singida and Kobero by road.

Since when has this waterway started operating again?

It started again in 2017, but at a snail’s pace as the railway often broke down. Since 2019, economic operators have started to use it very much.

What are the advantages of using this waterway for Burundian economic operators?

It is first of all fast. The transport of goods from Dar-es-Salaam to Kigoma is carried out in about 48h while the transport by boats from Kigoma to Bujumbura is carried out between 10 and 12h. Goods shipped to the port of Dar-es-Salaam arrive at Bujumbura port in less than three days, while the minimum duration of road travel is about 72 hours. By using this waterway, accidents, barriers and night robbery are avoided. This way allows economic operators to carry a large quantity of goods at a time. By road, we cannot exceed 25 tons per truck while Burundi has the boats that may carry 1800 tons. Compared to the road transport, we can earn 40% of the transport cost if we use maritime transport.

Why is the road more used while it presents many challenges?

Some Burundian economic operators have invested in trucks. They have signed contracts to transport goods of some companies. They therefore have an interest because the maritime transport is not used to keep their customers. For example, Burundi has wagons and boats to transport various goods, but some Burundian importers have bought their own trucks. I call on Burundian economic operators to use this route that is cheaper, faster, in order to avoid accident and theft risks.