River transport between South Sudan-Sudan to resume after 10-yr lull

River transport between South Sudan-Sudan to resume after 10-yr lull
River transportation between Sudan and South to resume after 11 years. [Courtesy]

River transport has finally resumed between Sudan and South Sudan as part of actualising the targets set in the 2012 economic and trade cooperation agreement.

The long overdue 12-point cooperation agreement has suffered a drawback since the deal was inked. This has compelled the landlocked South Sudan to rely entirely on neighbouring East African countries for imports.

On May 12, Presidential Security Advisor, Tut Galuak, held a discussion with Sudanese authorities to open ways for the operationalisation of the deal, that permits movements of vessels between Kosti and Juba.

Tut’s visit, was also aimed at reviewing the status of the implementation of the Juba Agreement. It preceded a May 23 meeting between delegations headed by the Undersecretary of South Sudan Ministry of Petroleum, with Sudanese authorities, to review the joint agreement on the petroleum sector in Khartoum.

Even though Sudan, in August 2011, ordered all the river transport companies and owners of vessels that operate between Sudan and South Sudan—and all chambers of commerce and service institutions inside the ports, to prepare for the resumption of the river transport—they never materialised.

However, speaking to the state-broadcaster South Sudan Broadcasting Cooperation (SSBC) on Saturday, Tut said traders from both sisterly countries could now transport goods from Khartoum to Juba and vice versa, without hindrance.

The move will be expected to lower the skyrocketing prices of basic commodities in the country which has been experiencing challenges on the lifeline Juba- Nimule mono-route resulting in high living costs in Juba.

The Executive Director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) Edmund Yakani said the resumption of the river transport would help South Sudan diversify its transportation route in case one gets problems, then it turns to the other.

But Yakani said it was not the first time announcing the resumption of river transport and cross-border trade between the two countries which leaders have never honoured.

“This river transport needs to be sustained by both Juba and Khartoum by assisting each other in the realisation of political stability and proper political transformation and implementation of the agreements that both countries granted to each other.’’

He added: “The river transport is very essential in the economic gain of both capital Juba and Khartoum and enhancing the living standard of citizens of the two countries as South Sudan as a consumer will gain low prices and Sudan as producer will get market for its produces.”

South Sudan cascaded from Sudan in 2011 and since then the relationship between the two remained soured till 2018 when Sudan offered to mediate the South’s conflict, ending the nearly seven-year war. South Sudan reciprocated by brokering Sudan’s peace.