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Great expectations as SGR cargo trains commence services

Reuben Mwambingu @reubenmwambingu

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has expressed optimism that commercial operations of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) freight train service will boost operations at the Mombasa Port.

The maiden SGR cargo train left Mombasa Port for the ultra-modern inland container depot in Nairobi on Monday, carrying 104 containers, which is virtually equivalent to cargo ferried by trucks plying the Mombasa-Nairobi highway on daily basis.

“With many cargos being evacuated from the port, this is a clear indication that SGR has truly revolutionised transportation of cargo,” KPA’s principal communication Officer, Haji Masemo told People Daily yesterday.

He further confirmed that on Tuesday the authority loaded another 80 containers on the cargo train for evacuation to Nairobi. The 25-tonne axle flat wagons have a capacity to carry a payload of 70 tonnes and while loaded it can move at a speed of 80km per hour, taking an average of eight hours between Mombasa and Nairobi.

“We are hoping that shipping lines will co-operate and embrace this new mode of cargo transportation and help in adding more efficiency to our facility,” said Masemo.

But while clearing and forwarding agents have also applauded the commencement of the SGR cargo operations, they have asked Kenya Railways Corporation to come out clearly on the modalities and actual costs of transporting cargo through the new rail sysytem.

Keynote Logistics managing director William Ojonyo said it is important for KRC to come out and help to unpack the intricacies of using the new mode of transportation of cargo for clearing agents to weigh whether SGR is “really the best option for their business.”

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