Kenya Railways Corporation, in conjunction with Afristar, the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) operator, have over the last four months maintained steady cargo evacuations from the port that has seen a reduction in backlogs.
To ensure adequate loading and movements, Kenya Railways said it has maintained daily wagon resources delivery for both types of cargo at above 500 wagons within a 24-hour circle to meet volumes discharged and nominated for SGR evacuations.
The trend has sustained direct ex hook delivery and loading of containers from vessels without delays within the port.
The recently introduced two double-deck trains, each conveying 152 TEUs per move, have enabled clearance on the old backlogs and maintaining desired loading of units ex hook, directly from discharging vessels.
In May, June, July and August, the SGR operator deployed 788 trains from Mombasa to Nairobi, conveying a total of 75,466 TEUs and 361,614 bulk ton.
Over the same period, the trains moved a total of 6,222 export TEUs, a gross tonnage of 207,824 and returned 42,223 empty containers from Nairobi to Mombasa.
The performance is an improvement from the first quarter when imports were affected due the global shortage of shipping containers and closure of some ports in Asia. This meant that cargo destined to Mombasa or other regional ports was delayed as ships served more of the European and transpacific routes.
Two months ago, Kenya Railways introduced two special trains with a minimum of 75 wagons conveying 150 TEUs to speed up containers delivery to ICDs. On conventional cargo evacuations, Kenya Railways said two daily trains have been moving, each conveying 2,900 tonnes of bulk wheat destined for milling factories.
In tandem with the Big Four Agenda agriculture pillar, Kenya Railways said in a statement that it has entered an agreement with the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) on conveyance of fertiliser delivered directly from discharging vessels.
The fertiliser is then loaded for railage to Nairobi before final distribution all over the country by trucks from Nairobi. Within four days of vessels discharge commencement, 188 wagons had delivered 12,972 tonnes of fertiliser.
Kenya Railways said it will continue to collaborate with key government agencies such as Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Revenue Authority, to maintain this trend to market Mombasa Port service levels on handling of both local and transit cargo.
The recently introduced loading of bulk cargo by Afristar on special open type wagons covered with tarpaulins has enabled two daily trains on bulk cargo evacuations. Over 6,000 tonnes of bulk wheat is delivered to Nairobi for distribution to millers.
Additional bulk wagons above conventional cargo requirements are still being converted to add to more fleet on containerised loading.
The rehabilitation of the metre-gauge railway is expected to grow businesses in the counties as well as create the requisite cargo volumes to leverage the SGR and cement its viability.
The government intends to establish Special Economic Zones in each county to encourage industrial activity.