As the most economical mode of transport for bulky goods over long distances beyond 500km, rail along the LAPSSET Corridor will have a considerable impact on the modal split for cargo and hence on the trade within the Eastern and Horn of Africa region. Much of the cargo meant for railway transport will comprise bulky agricultural commodities, finished or semi-finished goods, raw materials e.g. cement, oil, minerals, salt, grain, fruits and vegetables, livestock and livestock products (milk, butter, cheese) and manufactured goods. The high-speed standard gauge railway to be built on the LAPSSET Corridor will move at an average speed of 150 km/hr. At this speed, it will mainly increase the efficiency of trade in bulky and perishable goods in the region.
With a higher capacity to attract heavy goods cargo, the railway transport will ease the heavy burden on road transport on this Corridor, unlike in the Northern Corridor where road traffic accounts for nearly 90% of freight haulage. Assuming the efficiency of operation of the railway transport will be kept at a sustainable level, this could translate into less damage to road infrastructure and reduced expenditure on road maintenance for the highway on the LAPSSET Corridor, as opposed to the the Northern Corridor that is currently dominated by road transport for both passengers and freight largely due to the diminishing role of railway transport or its total collapse in certain segments.
The operation of railway transport on the Corridor and the eventual development of branch lines are expected to promote the operation of cheap passenger travel, especially for medium distances within the region. This will increase both accessibility and mobility within the areas traversed by the Corridor and in the outlying areas and complement road and air transport in both rural and urban areas. In this regard, railway transport will promote internal and regional socio-economic integration of the populations within the Eastern and Horn of Africa resulting in efficiency in rural transport and hence increased economic productivity in agricultural and non-agricultural economic activities.
Just as the Uganda Railway opened up the East African region at the beginning of the 20th century, so also is the proposed LAPSSET railway expected to play a major role in stimulating socio-economic growth and development in the areas traversed by it in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Southern Sudan.