The logistics infrastructure in South Sudan is in a poor state with very little yearly maintenance undertaken. Nearly 40 years of conflict, underdevelopment and virtually no investment has left the country with an ailing road network, limited air and water transport capacity and a large infrastructure gap.
The vast majority of roads and main transport corridors within the country are comprised of gravel roads which are severely affected by perennial flooding. The Juba to Nimule road is currently the only sealed corridor connecting the country with neighbouring Uganda. Little maintenance, low adherence to road rules by road users, and the inability to enforce road weight limits lead to the quick deterioration of roads and bridges.
The country has access to hundreds of airstrips and helicopter landing areas; however, the vast majority of these are gravel strips. Encroachment and little to no maintenance serve to create a hazardous flying environment at some airstrips. A limited number of airstrips are accessible by fixed wing plane throughout the year with a large number being accessible by helicopter or specialised aircraft (Buffalo) only. During the rainy season, the number of fixed wing accessible airstrips further decreases. Currently, the country only has access to four asphalt runways: in Juba, Paloich Wau and Malakal, and a small number of gravel strips capable of handling large aircraft. Current plans include the upgrade of Juba International Airport. As Paloich is a privately run airstrip, there are landing fees to be paid prior to departure which is also applicable to UN Agencies.
The River Nile waterway network provides transport capacity to various downstream locations year round. The barges and pushers have a capacity of 1,200 mt per set (a set is comprised of 4 barges), but are old and unreliable from suffering from years of low investment. Compounded with security issues on the river, the turnaround times for barge movements from Bor to Malakal can vary from 2 to 6 months. WFP at present has a MoU for the cross-border movement of food and NFIs from Sudan into South Sudan using road and barge in the Renk corridor. Ports along the Nile are of poor standard and congested due to the current reliance on force protection for river movements. The River Sobat from Ethiopia is only open for 2-4 months of the year. Insecurity around the river has resulted in this being underutilised.
Mingkaman and Bor ports are being supported for upgrades only.
For useful information on South Sudan's transport infrastrucure, please see the following links: