Uganda's President Inaugurates Concrete Sleeper Factory

Spain’s IMATHIA Construcción developed the plant.

By Liz Bains on
7th September 2023

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has officially opened the country’s first concrete railway sleeper factory at Kawolo in Buikwe district.

During the inauguration ceremony on 1 September, President Museveni praised the investor, Spain’s IMATHIA Construcción for helping Uganda towards its vision of building an economy that is integrated, independent and self-sustaining.

The factory has a daily production capacity of 208 concrete sleepers and is 90% staffed by Ugandans.

Uganda’s Minister of Works and Transport, Edward Katumba Wamala stated that the idea for the factory resulted from a feasibility study undertaken in 2017 for revamping the country's railway infrastructure that recommended using concrete sleepers to replace steel sleepers, which are more prone to vandalism and rust and expensive to replace.

President Museveni noted that Uganda is in the final stages of developing a steel industry and hopes to start manufacturing rails in the near future as well.

“We are developing our steel industry in Kabale. We shall be able to produce that type of steel that is needed by the railway system, not only here in Uganda but also in other parts of East Africa,” he said.

In June 2020, Uganda Railways Corporation signed a contract with IMATHIA Construcción to refurbish the 26km Kampala-Mukono metre-gauge railway line. 

The project entails the replacement of the track skeleton and the provision of concrete sleepers and new rails as well as the necessary ballast.

Announcing the €19.8 million (US$21.2 million) award, the Spanish firm said it would set up a carousel sleeper manufacturing plant for the on-site production of 50,000 mono-block, pre-stressed concrete sleepers. 

Physical works on the Kampala-Mukono line began in April with removing the old steel sleeper line. Residents have proven reluctant to vacate the track to allow for the renovation works to proceed.

The project is being implemented in two phases, with the first phase from Kampala to Namanve and the second from Namanve to Mukono. 

Italy’s Wegh Group was chosen by IMATHIA Construcción as the technology partner for the carousel sleeper manufacturing plant.

As of 1 September, more than 40,000 of the sleepers required for the Kampala-Mukono line had been made.

Photo: Factory inauguration (Source: Official website of President Yoweri Museveni

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