0 Replies Latest reply on Jan 3, 2018 9:41 AM by Jerry Rawlings Mbabali

    First SGR Cargo train makes maiden trip to Nairobi ICD from Mombasa port

    Jerry Rawlings Mbabali

      The First Commercial Cargo train arrives at the Ultra-Modern Inland Container Depot, Nairobi which President Uhuru Kenyatta recently.

       

      Kenya Railways has dispatched one trial freight train carrying goods only from Mombasa to Nairobi way before schedule. The 52 wagon container train left Port Reitz freight station at 5:45 am and arrived Nairobi city at 2pm."The cargo was offloaded at the Inland Container Depot for clearance and last mile transportation by the cargo owners."

      The freight services started after President Uhuru Kenyatta commissioned the upgraded Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Embakasi last December 2017. Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) Freight coordinator Hamisi Disi said that the cargo would be offloaded at the ICD in Embakasi for clearance before container owners collect them. "This is the first freight train to operate on the new SGR line this year," Disi said.

      The first SGS cargo train arriving at the ICD Nairobi terminal

      The ICD is now under the management of the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) which is overseeing its operations. The port was constructed by the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) before it was handed over to Kenya Ports Authority. It has a centre housing representatives from Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and the Kenya Revenue Authorities. The officials are responsible for, among other things, clearing goods that leave the Port of Mombasa before being cleared off for movement.

      There would be four trains operating daily to the ultra-modern inland container depot which was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta a fortnight ago, but in the fullness of time eight cargo trains are expected to operate to and from Mombasa port. In his new year’s message, President Kenyatta said the new commercial cargo train would cut costs and delays in trade for Kenyans and its neighbouring countries.”

      “The President said the delivery of a world-class railway on time and within budget, would attract world-class manufacturing investors and value-addition investments, which are critical to creating jobs and business opportunities.”

      The 2nd phase of SGR project will be developed in three parts this year; Nairobi- Naivasha; Naivasha-Kisumu through Narok, Bomet, Sondu and Ahero; including a high-capacity port at Kisumu and Kisumu-Malaba through Yala and Mumias.

      The regional SGR project will then be extended to Kampala and Kigali in Uganda and Rwanda, and later to South Sudan.”

      Last month during the launch of Makadara express inter county train service, CS James Macharia said the cost of moving a cargo container from the Port of Mombasa to Nairobi city will not only be cheaper, but it will now be done within 24 hours which was not the case before.

      “To transport a 20-foot container on our roads is Sh85, 000 but it will be Sh50, 000 by train once freight services begin,” he said when he launched the inter-county train services.

      The Mombasa Port’s total annual freight handling is expected to exceed 50 million tonnes by 2030, doubling from 24 million tonnes in 2017.

      The port handled 11.4 per cent more cargo in the first quarter of 2017 year, largely due to increased efficiency.

      It handled 7.2 million tonnes of cargo between January and March against 6.5 million tonnes recorded in a similar period last year.

      Since independence, the country has been stuck with the old line, which has been inadequate and has resulted in pressure on the highway from Mombasa to Nairobi. This has caused delays and exorbitant costs of commuting and moving cargo in East Africa.

      The passenger train has reduced travel time between Mombasa and Nairobi to between four and five hours. Before it used to take travellers an average of nine to ten hours to travel by bus between the two distant cities.

       

      Source: The Standard news

      Modern cargo container trains will be one of the ultimate solutions to the African transport problems such as extreme pressure on the roads, what is your take on this matter?

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