Transport sector of Uganda

Transport sector of Uganda

The transport sector is one of the most crucial sectors in the country as other sectors depend on it either directly or indirectly. Uganda is served by road, rail, inland water and air transport and the majority of people use road public transport. Plans are under way to construct the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) with the aim of linking  it with Kenya, Tanzania,  Rwanda and South Sudan.

Performance of the transport sector

The transport sector is one of the most crucial sectors in the country as other sectors depend on it either directly or indirectly for transport.. In FY 2018/19 the sector has been allocated Ushs 4.8 trillion compared Ushs 4,587 billion  in FY 2017/18   and  Ushs 3,824 billion  in FY 2016/17.

Regulatory framework in the Transport Sector

Ministry of Works and Transport

The Ministry  is responsible for planning, developing and maintaining an economic, efficient and effective transport infrastructure and transport services by road, rail, water and air.

National Road Safety Authority (NRSA)

The government set up an autonomous NRSA with a responsibility of supporting government efforts to improve road safety. The information collected by NRSA is used by road agencies, police, and the Ministry of Works and Transport in the process of improving and developing the roads sector.

The National Road Safety Council (NRSC) 

NRSC funded through the Uganda Road Fund-URF promotes safe use of the roads.

The National Transport Master Plan

The National Transport Master Plan Including a Transport Master Plan for Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area (NTMP/GKMA) sets out a framework for development of the transport sector over the next 15 years, 2008-23. It reflects the key role that transport plays in facilitating economic and social development. The master plan aims at promoting cheaper, efficient and reliable transport services as the means of providing effective support to increased agricultural and industrial production, trade, tourism, social and administrative services.

Multi-Sector Transport Regulatory Agency

Multi-Sector Transport Regulatory Agency (MTRA) covering rail, waterways, road transport, and the proposed petroleum pipeline is responsible for regulating increased private sector participation in the sector.

Road sector policies

The road sector has policies aim at providing an efficient, safe and sustainable road network in support of market integration and poverty reduction.  Also improving the managerial and operational efficiency of road administration.

Air Transport Policy

The policy on aviation industry is to ensure that the air transport industry is safe, secure, regular and efficient. It is also aims at turning   Entebbe Airport turns into a regional hub.

Rail Transport Policy

The policy on rail hinges on reduction of direct role of government in the sub sector, promotion of private sector participation and commercialization of Railway Transport.

National Development Plan (NDP II)

The National Development Plan (NDP) that covers the fiscal period 2015/16-2019/20 has the following five strategic objectives;

  • Developing an adequate, reliable and efficient multi modal transport network in the country
  • Improving the human resource and institutional capacity of the Sector to efficiently execute the planned interventions
  • Improving the National Construction Industry(policy, legal, regulatory and institutional framework for the construction industry)
  • Increasing safety of transport services
  • Developing adequate, reliable and efficient multi modal transport network in the country
  • Supporting the National Construction Industry, and
  • Developing adequate, reliable and efficient air transport network in the country

The sector priority areas

Transport infrastructure is key for the structural transformation of Uganda’s economy. Therefore government has made it a priority to increase the stock and quality of economic infrastructure so as to accelerate the country’s competitiveness.

Performance of road subsector

The key priority  of increasing the stock of road infrastructure is being maintained in FY 2018/19 and significant progress has been made in FY 2017/18 with addition of a 107.5 kms of new paved roads to the national network. Partial works of 806 kilometers of roads were also completed during the FY 2017/18. The total length of paved roads in Uganda in FY2017/18 stood at 5,350 kilometers, compared to 987 kilometers in 1986.

Plans for FY 2017/18

The Government will in FY2018/19, the financial year priorities will include:

  • Road maintenance, in order to preserve key investments already made;
  • Using the recently acquired road equipment for regions and districts for the maintenance of district and community murram roads;
  • Construction of 600km of Oil roads, and upgrading to tarmac of another 400 km of roads, and rehabilitation of 200km of existing roads and construction of 15 Bridges;
  • Rehabilitation of tourism roads and the development of road network in industrial parks, including Mbale and Kapeeka industrial parks.
  • Start construction of the Sigulu Island ferry on Lake Victoria and the Bukungu-Kagwara-Kaberamaido ferries and rehabilitate the former Bukakata – Luuku ferry;
  • Commence feasibility studies and designs for roads and bridges for which construction will begin in 2019/20.


Government has undertaken construction of major expressways aimed at reducing traffic congestion in and around Kampala City. The core expressways include the following;

  • Kampala – Entebbe Expressway/Munyonyo (51km)  and will commissioned on 15th June 2018;
  • Kampala-Jinja Highway (77km) Feasibility Study and Detailed Design of submitted to PPP committee. The procurement launch was in May 2018 and road’s completion date is 2025.
  • Kampala-Bombo Expressway- Feasibility Study Detailed Design of Kampala was expected in May 2017. IFC to carry out Transaction Advisory Services once designs are complete
  • Kampala – Busunju Expressway (approx.55km). EoI  invited but evaluation report stayed by Contracts Committee
  • Nakasero-Northern Bypass Express Route (VVIP Express Route).contract signed in November 2016 Inception report was submitted in January 2017

Railway transport

The government is committed to development of the Standard Gauge Railway.  8% of the right of way for the SGR has been acquired with 228 Project Affected Persons in Tororo having been paid. In FY 2018/19 additional land on the Eastern route will be procured to facilitate the Standard Gauge Railway right of way. In addition, 42 Railway wagons will be rehabilitated, bad spots along Port Bell – Kampala and Kampala – Malaba line will be repaired. Marking of the railway reserve boundaries will also be undertaken.

Water Transport

The Government has continued to prioritize the improvement of inland water facilities through the Development of Bukasa port, improvement of marine transport infrastructure at Port Bell, Jinja Pier and other landing sites, and re-opening of the Southern route. Procurement of Ferries for effective and safe continuation of national road network and provision of transport services to islands and other hard to reach areas is planned during the financial year.

Plans for FY 2017/18

Government plans to increase enforcement of regulations, in order to make water transport safe and environmentally suitable for the movement of both passenger and cargo traffic in addition to rehabilitate Portbell and Jinja ports.

Air Transport

20-year National Aviation Master Plan (2014-2033)

This a master that guides the country in the following issues;

  • Strategic Development of Civil Aviation
  • Infrastructure
  • Air Traffic Forecast
  • Economic Aspects
  • Airports,
  • Air Navigation Services
  • Safety oversight
  • Financial and budgetary estimates

Entebbe International Airport

Redevelopment of the Entebbe International Airport  is one of the core projects of NDPII. The redevelopment of Entebbe International Airport is on course. The new cargo center is 30% complete and 20% works for the modification of the passenger terminal building is done. In addition 15% of the rehabilitation works for expansion of Apron 1 is also done.

Uganda Airlines

The National Airline will be revived FY 2018/19  and aircraft will be acquired to commence regional air services. The revival of the National Airline will enhance Uganda’s competitiveness by reducing the cost of air transport and ease connectivity to and from Uganda.

Kabaale International Airport in Hoima (Phase I)

This project is a strategic intervention to enhance the development of the Oil and Gas industry in Western Uganda through providing an expedient air transport facility for bulk assets destined to the region.  The construction of  a runway for the airport and its associated Taxiways has started.

Challenges in the Transport Sector Uganda

  • Increasing the utilisation capacity of the funds available to the sector;
  • Inadequate research in the sector has limited the development and growth;
  • Most roads in Uganda are narrow and road space is shared with road side parking;
  • The few overhead crossings available do not seem to be popular and convenient from the pedestrian point of view;
  • City traffic jams growing by the day as more cars come onto the roads, aggravated by thousands of the mini bus taxis;
  • There are no pedestrian streets or walk-ways and
  • Inadequate funding on the assumption the limitations in utilization capacity are not there.

Transport sector has been summarized to include the following

Transport Sector Profile in Uganda

Transport Sector regulators

Investment opportunities in transport sector

Air Transport

Railway Transport

Road Transport

Water Transport

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