Transport and Logistics in Uganda: Musita Investments, A One Stop Logistics Activities Center

Ismael Isabirye gives an overview of the transport and logistics sector in Uganda and presents Musita Investments, a one stop logistics activities center, providing a wide range of solutions, such as: transportation, customs clearance, warehousing, door to door delivery, import and export of goods, etc. He also shares his vision for the company in two to three years’ time.

Interview with Ismael Isabirye, Managing Director at Musita Investments Ltd

Ismael Isabirye, Managing Director at Musita Investments Ltd

What is your assessment of the transport and logistics sector in Uganda? What are the latest trends?

The transport and logistics sector is a very good sector to be in. It has a range of many activities in addition to transport. We have carrying and forwarding, distribution, packaging, warehousing. The logistics sector also employs more than 200,000 people currently.

Is the sector competitive?

We are in a very competitive sector. In 2020, over 500 companies are licensed to carry out freight logistics. All those companies not only handle customs clearance but also other activities such as distribution, transportation, warehousing. You have to be very good to be in the top of the group.

Musita Investments warehousing services
Musita Investments’ warehousing services include inventory control and management, load building, yard management, etc.

What does it mean for you to operate in a landlocked country like Uganda?

Our vision from now to the next ten years is to be the leading logistics services providing company in the region. We are aiming for that by widening our partnership base to the players in the industry, especially manufacturers all over the world.

It is difficult. But since Uganda is a landlocked country, we have access to ports through our neighboring countries such as Tanzania and Kenya. It is both an advantage and a disadvantage. With those ports being far from us, it creates more opportunities for logistics companies. However, it hinders the economy. Besides offering affordable rates, you have to work well in order to come out on top. Musita focuses more on visibility and transparency and we make sure that we deliver on time as per the customers’ demands. We have to let the client know from the beginning all the possible routes, hidden techniques, and be on the same page. Before automation, clients used to order goods and just wait for their goods to arrive in Mombasa. But now, things continue changing globally. Now, the clients track their own goods. We have that access as a transport company. We share information with them on an hourly basis. The goods leave China and we share a tracking number. They can see where their goods are and if there is any danger. We do not keep the information to ourselves. Change has taken over and we embrace it. There have been many advances in the industry. We used to do many things manually, but now, processes are paperless. You must embrace change and train your staff so they are up to the standard of being on top of digitization. Paper is being phased out of the industry and almost 80% is digital. Now, the trend is to track cargo regionally in East Africa. We have a cargo tracking system where the client can sit at the comfort of their work or home and track their package at the same pace as we do. We want to trust our drivers, but if they lie or turn off their phones, we are in the dark, too. But that is changing quickly now as well.

What makes you different? How do you stand out from the competition? Why should customers come to you?

Our competitive advantage is that we embrace change. If you cannot embrace change, it will force you to change and then you will not be able to catch up to it. Second is our marketing tools. We look at our strengths and our weaknesses and look for opportunities. Using those marketing tools helps us to stay on top of our competitors. We also focus on EDIs, electronic data interchange. People now can go online to find a transport carrier in Uganda within a minute. You have to be sure that your electronic interchange is up to standard. We also use RFIDs to track cargo. The client has put his trust in us that he is not putting his money into something he cannot see. We always look at the SWOT analysis internally as a company and work on our strengths and weakness and how to utilize the opportunities that we have.

Musita Investments door to door delivery services
Musita Investments also provides door to door delivery services to its clients.

Who are your clients?

We work with manufacturers such as Picfare Industries which deals with books, stationary materials, and scholastic materials. We also work with Southern Range who deals in clothing. We also are in agriculture with farmers.

What is your international reach?

Our reach outside the region is focused on finding financial partners to work with. So far, we have found partners in China, India, South Africa and we are exploring further into those countries.

Are you looking for investors?

We are interested. We have some floating shares as a company. We want to bring in someone with whom we can share the principles and values of the company. We want new ideas and fresh minds that come with a partner and we welcome them. Someone that partners with us needs to have confidence. Uganda has 6.5 billion barrels of oil which means a lot to someone who has partnered with us. We will still have business from this for more than 40 years to come in freight, moving machinery, transporting equipment, oil in and out of the country. This is a landlocked country and we need to transport that oil from here to Kenya and Tanzania. This comes along with high tech equipment. As a landlocked country, it is always hard for us to get such equipment.

Musita Investments solutions for import and export of goods
Musita Investments offers flexible and innovative solutions for import and export of goods.

What are your current projects?

We have done some previous handling for Tullow Oil. They are responsible for the pipelines in the oil sector. We are also working on upgrading our tracking system. We have more tools which we will be able to use to follow the freight wherever it is.

Do you have any additional comments?

Musita Investments Ltd. is a one stop logistics activities center. Anyone who comes here will get the full package. You can sit back and relax as we provide all the logistics activities from A to Z. We are near the URA that regulates us which is also in close proximity to the inland containers. We are strategically placed to the center of where logistics activities take place.

What is your vision for the company in two to three years’ time, the medium term?

Our vision from now to the next ten years is to be the leading logistics services providing company in the region. We are aiming for that by widening our partnership base to the players in the industry, especially manufacturers all over the world. 80% of products in Uganda are imported. We are also involved in broadening our base with shipping lines in the industry that ship containers to access ports all over the world and our own ports in Mombasa and Dar Es Salaam. We want to increase our own fleet and also attain the status of an Authorized Economic Operator globally. That status facilitates trade which comes with many benefits that are given to tax compliant logistics companies and importers. Some of those benefits include being entitled to first clearance procedures, you can choose where to have cargo inspection done, and you are licensed to work for three years. By attaining that status, we are guaranteed to fulfill our vision of being the leading logistics company in the region. The government is also embracing partnership all over the world. We will soon join the African Continental Free Trade Area whereby our market will join with those in the African continent. It will widen the market base for us as logisticians as we are the backbone of the economy. We need to transport goods from A to B. Without us, nothing can move.



ADDRESS: Plot 122, Spring Road – Bugolobi, Second Floor, Room No. 33, Krish Mall, PO Box 36564, Kampala, Uganda

PHONE NUMBER: (+256) 392 879 670



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