River transport can make a big difference; In India, the total waterways are about 5200 km, which is longer than the distance between Miami and Seattle.
Sudan and South Sudan announced in June 2022 the resumption of river transportation along the White Nile. In fact, this is the best news for the citizens of both countries from the beginning of this year, 2022.
To understand how river transportation and waterways can make difference, let us have the example of India where the total waterways in the form of rivers are about 5200 km Which is longer than the distance between Florida and the State of Washington “Miami to Seattle”. The longest waterway in India starts from the Ganga river amounts to 1,620 km which is longer than the distance from London to Rome. India has cut almost half of transport costs with its river transport. Having that the Nile is the longest river in the world what will be the total length of the Nile Basin system?
The news confirmed that Sudan and South Sudan have resumed the White Nile transportation after 11 years. Good news, right? Before sending congratulations to the two nations, governments, and the governors of the White Nile in Sudan and Upper Nile in South Sudan we should read a similar piece of news dated back to 2018 “Sudan and South Sudan resume the cross-border trade after 7 years”, and then it says “the two countries have now resumed full border services in Sudan’s White Nile Province and South Sudan’s Upper Nile region”. Unfortunately, the decision has been taken before but the problem was in implementation.
How can the two countries make the news different from before? The Presidential Advisor on National Security Affairs Mr. Tut Gatluak visited the border and said to the press that the ships are ready to transport foodstuffs and petroleum to South Sudan, “We visited the Free Zone in the White Nile and inspected the customs and clearance procedures”, Tut Gatluak said.
The lesson learned before is that economic cooperation might start and then stop due to political and security reasons. The two countries should be serious to avoid that again. Suggestions such as a presidential summit in Jouda city or a media trip from Kosti to Malakal could be the best next step.