Research has shown that there are very large differences in the availability and costs of transport between Africa and Asia. Africa is at a considerable disadvantage in all respects. Development funds to date have been almost exclusively used for infrastructure yet there is huge potential for cost savings from an improvement in vehicle efficiency. The provision of transport services has been left to the market but the market has not been working effectively. High transport costs and unreliable service provision have a significant impact on industry, incentives to increase agricultural production and on the mobility of people, particularly the poor. This report describes the results of research carried out on vehicle operations and transport services in Uganda. To understand the transport market and its operations, interviews were carried out with the main stakeholders within the transport industry (Associations, Ministry, and Operators). A sample survey was also carried out in the capital city Kampala and in two rural towns (Fortportal and Buwenge), which covered operations of mini-buses, large buses, trucks and pick-ups. The report describes major problems faced by transport operators and analyses their impact on vehicle operating costs. These include age of the vehicle fleet, vehicle import duties and petrol taxes, access to vehicle financing and safety issues. The report also discusses transport regulations and the current organisation of transport services and their impact on vehicle utilisation. The key areas highlighted for concern include anti-competitive practise by the associations, which control service provision, poor operating practises, high political interference and a poor level of knowledge among the transport profession. Finally, recommendations to improve vehicle operations are made, which range from shorter term initiatives addressing issues such as vehicle financing, driver training and safety to long term policy, institutional reforms (including legislative changes, vehicle import regulation, and setting up of a transport regulator body and Private Public Partnership arrangements, etc.).
Benmaamar, M.; Ellis, S.; Dunkerley, C. Improved vehicle operations in SSA: a case study in Uganda. (2001)