Kenya Railways will now direct all cargo freight from Mombasa to the Naivasha Inland Container Depot for onward transportation to neighbouring countries, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has said.
Macharia says this will boost movement of goods in the region. The inaugural freight via the Standard Gauge Railway arrived in Naivasha on Thursday and was received by Macharia, accompanied by top officials from the Kenya Ports Authority and the Kenya Railways Corporation.
Most of the cargo at the depot is destined for Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Burundi and parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Kenya Railways Managing Director Phillip Mainga said the corporation will have two initial daily trains hauling up to 108 twenty-foot equivalent units (teus) and a minimum of 70 teus.
The Naivasha ICD has a capacity to hold two million tonnes annually and is intended to reduce congestion at the Nairobi ICD and Mombasa port, cut the number of trucks on the roads and facilitate seamless trans-shipment of goods to neighbouring countries. "We want to contain the spike in the number of truck drivers testing positive for Covid-19 because there will be fewer trucks originating from Mombasa," Mainga said.
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Macharia said the Naivasha ICD will increase the rail transport sector's role in the logistics scene by providing a viable solution to the challenge of limited capacity at the Port of Mombasa and Nairobi Inland Container Depot.
Meanwhile, Uganda Railways Corporation operations manager Abobeko Chaki said the increase in operations between the Port of Kisumu and Port Bell in Uganda will improve the quality of service delivery and reduce human movements across the two countries in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19.
He said this while receiving 800,000 litres of fuel transported to Port Bell from Kisumu by the MV Uhuru vessel.
"By using railway and water transport system, we will be able to transport up to 17 million litres of fuel at ago and reduce the number of trucks operating between the two countries and hence minimise the risk of spreading the Covid-19,” Chaki said, adding that if the two ships are operational between Kisumu and Port Bell, over 500 trucks will be kept off the roads.