The Standard Gauge Railway has more than doubled revenues from its passenger and cargo services in the nine months to September.
The railway earned a combined Sh8.8 billion over the period from the two services, a 136 per cent jump from Sh3.73 billion earned over a similar period in 2018, according to the latest data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).
SGR freight service accounted for the bulk of revenues at Sh7.54 billion compared to Sh2.6 billion that the cargo business earned the railway last year.
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The higher revenue follows a hike in the cost of moving goods using the SGR earlier this year, when Kenya Railways moved away from a promotional tariff and reverted to charges approved by different agencies.
Under the promotional tariff, cargo owners paid Sh25,000 per 20-foot container and Sh35,000 for a 40-foot container, half of the approved tariff.
Beginning January 1, businesses have been paying Sh50,000 per 20-foot container and Sh70,000 for a 40-foot container.
While cheaper than road transport, which costs between Sh80,000 and Sh100,000 to move a container from Mombasa to Nairobi, there are additional charges for handling the cargo at the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Nairobi. These charges substantially push up the costs.
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Revenues from the passenger service went up marginally to Sh1.28 billion this year, from Sh1.12 billion, owing to a marginal drop in the number of passengers to 1.18 million from 1.19 people that had used the service over the nine months in 2018.