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SGR cargo uptake jumps 28pc on improved efficiency, bigger trains

By Macharia Kamau | March 10th 2021
By Macharia Kamau | March 10th 2021

The use of double-stack wagons on the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) freight service has increased the cargo ferried by nearly a third.

Kenya Railways Corporation deployed the double-decker wagons in January this year to increase the amount of cargo ferried from Mombasa port to Nairobi and Naivasha.

This has resulted in the cargo uptake on the SGR service from Mombasa, registering a 28 per cent growth last month to 23,040 twenty-foot containers.

This is in comparison to the same period last year when the same service moved freight equivalent to 17,974 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

Last month’s performance translates into an average of 8.2 trains carrying over 800 TEUs per day (230 trains), against some 210 freight carrying trains that were reported to have made the trip in February 2020.

Kenya Railways Managing Director Phillip Mainga attributed the improved performance to double-decker loading and maintenance of containerised loading wagon fleets.

This, he noted, has pushed the average daily supply up to 400 wagons to the port of Mombasa by Afristar, the SGR operator.

On the conventional cargo front, Afristar delivered 128,291 tonnes of bulk wheat to Nairobi, both for Kenyan millers and those operating in the neighbouring countries last month.

This compares to 3,897 tonnes delivered during the comparable period last year - a growth of more than 32 times.

Bulk cargo haulage has been enhanced by the recently introduced service of loading bulk cargo on special high-sided wagons covered with tarpaulins.

“With the reduced rates for Naivasha ICD (Inland Container Depot), KRC continues to appeal to our clients to continue nominating containers to this new facility,” said Mainga.

“Civil works on the link between Naivasha SGR and the Longonot metre gauge railway section are now at an advanced stage, and on course to offer quick transition of cargo destined for neighbouring countries.”

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