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A large section of the White Nile flows through South Sudan and the country have access to approximately 1400km of navigational waterways stretching from Juba in the south, to Kosti in North Sudan, and from Bentui in the west to Akobo on the Ethiopian border to the east. The river is accessible throughout the year, and during the rainy season the Nile is the only reliable transport link between the southern, central and northern areas of the country. Many of the rivers tributaries are also navigable, however these are only considered passable during the rainy reason.

Although navigational throughout the year, water levels fluctuate during the rainy and dry seasons. In some areas this results in the reduced cargo carrying capacity of barges with barge operators loading vessels according to seasonal draft and clearance requirements. Standard barges take around 400mt but at times during the dry season and in some sections such as between Juba-Bor, the river is only navigable with 300mt. Various barge operators and powerboat owner-operators provide transport services along the length of the river, with the major ports of Mangalla, Bor, Shambe, Adok, Malakal and Renk easily accessible. The majority of river ports are nothing more than an easily accessible riverbank from which porters can load and offload cargo. Loading and offloading facilities, including access to equipment remain problematic.

Passenger transport along the river has not been fully developed. There are no dedicated passenger barges operating along the river and passenger transport is mostly done through powerboats, and allocated space on cargo barges. The development of infrastructure along the river has in recent times largely been the domain of private operators and other commercial companies who have constructed, or are in the planning phases, of constructing their own supply bases with direct access to the water with dedicated equipment and storage solutions. 

Company Information

Historically barge and boat operations were characterized by state run agencies managed by Sudan. The largest barge companies currently operating on South Sudan waterways are MINCO Limited, Nile Barges for River Transport Co, Keer Marine Co and the South Sudan Trans Nile Company.

For information on South Sudan Waterways contact details, please see the following link: 

4.2.3 South Sudan Port and Waterways Company Contact List

Passenger Carrying Capacity

Passenger transport along the river has not been fully developed. There are no dedicated passenger barges operating along the river and passenger transport is mostly done through powerboats, and allocated space on cargo barges.

Key Routes

Key Route Information

 

From: Juba     

To: Kosti

From: Malakal       

To: Akobo

Total Distance (km)1436km500km

Width (m):

n/an/a

River Flow

(m³ / second)

Peak river flow of the upper White Nile Basin above Malakal occurs between July and December.

The average flow is approximately 924 m3/s with an average peak of approximately 1218 m3/s and a minimum average flow of 609 m3/s. 

The Sobat river is one of the biggest tributaries of the White Nile with an average flow of 412 m3/s,

and an average peak and minimum flow of 680 m3/s and 99 m3/s respectively. 

Seasonal AffectsLow water levels during the dry season between the Juba-Bor section affects barge cargo capacityLow water levels during the dry season between the Juba-Bor section affects barge cargo capacity

Maximum Weight and

Size of Vessels

Standard 400mt barge Barge and boat services

Regular Traffic

Passenger / Cargo

Passenger and cargoPassenger and cargo

Companies Operating

Along the Route

KEER Marine Co.

Nile Barges for River Transport Co. Ltd

MINCO Ltd

South Sudan Trans Nile Company

KEER Marine Co.

Nile Barges for River Transport Co. Ltd

MINCO Ltd

South Sudan Trans Nile Company

Security Concerns

(Yes / No)

Yes, various security checkpoints are present along this route and operators occasionally

make use of national security personnel on barges to help navigate such areas. 

Yes
Main PortsMangalla, Bor, Shambe, Adok, Malakal and RenkMalakal, Nasser, Akobo

Port Information

Key Port Information
 Bor PortMalakal Port
Location

06°12'15.37"N

31°33'11.03"E

N 09° 31’ 35.00”

E 31° 39’ 02.00”

Contact Information

n/aBol Gordon – Port Manager - +211 (0) 955444412

Connections with other

transport means

(road/waterways/air)

Road (State and Interstate) and air (Bor Airport)Road (State and Interstate) and air (Malakal Airport)

Storage Capacity

(square meters and cubic meters)

NoneNone
Handling EquipmentNoneNone

Customs Clearance Available

(Yes / No)

NoNone
Other CommentsBor port is comprised of an easily accessible riverbank where barges can dock to load and offload cargo. An additional docking area is available a short distance upstream and WFP also have a floating jetty adjacent to its warehouses approximately 11km up stream. There are no warehousing or cargo handling equipment available on site and mobile cranes have to be hired in. 

Malakal Port has a concrete pier of approx. 300 m in length. Porters unload barges but mobile cranes are available from private operators. The porters are organized and unloading/loading fees must be negotiated. Fuel is available at the port from commercial suppliers. Malakal is an important port due to its geographical location. Humanitarian goods offloaded at Malakal can be transshipped at onto smaller vessels, which can then use the White Nile tributaries to reach points east and west of the main river.

  • The Sobat corridor – stretches between Malakal and Nassir;
  • The Zeraf River – this route is seasonal
  • The River Bahr el Ghazal route – reaches from Malakal to Bentui;
  • The River Jur – can extend up to Wau

For information on South Sudan additional waterways information, please see the following links:

White Nile River Cargo Transport Assessment

Malakal Melut River Assessment Report

Nile River Common Transport Service Snapshot