A new cargo terminal at Uganda’s only international airport in Kampala has recently opened, according to China’s state press agency Xinhua.
The Chinese-constructed air cargo terminal is part of the expansion and upgrade of the Entebbe International Airport, a $200m project financed by the Import-Export Bank of China, and replaces an old cargo terminal that was originally a hangar.
Jiang Jiqing, the commercial counselor at the Chinese embassy in Uganda, described the facility as state of the art, saying it has the capacity to facilitate Uganda’s exports, especially in the agricultural sector, which is the country’s key economic activity.
“It is so impressive to see that steady progress has been made, we all know that Uganda is very eager to export is premium agriculture products to the outside world, to neighboring countries,” he said last Friday, after a tour of the center.
Vianney Luggya, the spokesperson of Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCCA), the state regulator of air transport in Uganda said that when it is fully functional, the new facility will accommodate 100,000 metric tons of cargo per year compared to the old one which had a capacity of 50,000 metric tons per year.
Noting the increased cargo business in the country, UCCA projections show the tonnage at 172,000 metric tons by 2033.
“We are seeing that exports are increasing more than imports, which is good for the country. The bulk of Uganda’s exports are mainly fresh produce which are flowers, fish and vegetables. The cold storage in the new facility can help that fresh produce to be exported to foreign markets,” Luggya said.
The Government of Uganda is in the process of a three phase 2015-2035 upgrade and expansion of the airport.
The construction, which is under the Belt and Road Initiative, started in May 2016 and is now at a 76 percent completion level.
The first phase, with the three-quarters now finished, involves the construction of a new passenger terminal, a new cargo complex, and upgrade of two runways and their associated taxiways, rehabilitation and overlay of three tarmacs.