Cargo from SGR being loaded onto a train at the Inland Container Depot in Mai Mahiu, Naivasha, for transportation to Malaba. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

Kenya Railways Corporation has reduced the tariff charged on cargo destined from Mombasa to Malaba by over 50 per cent, following complaints by the East Africa Community over the high charges.

The move is meant to increase cargo ferried through the railway and reduce the time taken to transport goods to neighbouring countries.

This came as the State firm kicked off a two-month trial of seamlessly ferrying goods from Mombasa to Malaba through the rail.

Under the programme, cargo collected from the Port of Mombasa will be delivered to the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Naivasha for onward transportation to the Malaba border through the meter-gauge railway line.

According to Kenya Railways Managing Director Phillip Maingi, the tariffs for one 50 feet container had dropped from $1,200 (Sh135,600) to $800 (Sh90,400)

This, he noted followed negotiations between the governments of Kenya and Uganda following concerns over the high charges.

“There was concern over the high tariffs the country was charging but we have reviewed this by around 50 per cent,” he said. Speaking during the test run yesterday, Maingi said the move would see the time taken to ferry goods from Mombasa to Malaba reduced from four days to 28 hours.

“This will not only reduce traffic on the road but also reduce the expenses incurred by companies and individuals while ferrying cargo,” he said.

He noted that the trial exercise came following the completion of the 24 kilometres (km) stretch of the MGR from the ICD to Longonot Town.

Mr Maingi termed the rehabilitation of the 465km railway line from Longonot to Malaba as a major boost to the transport of cargo to Uganda and DRC. “We shall be undertaking a two-month trial of ferrying goods between the two countries before officially launching the exercise,” he said.

He said they expected two trains carrying cargo from Mombasa to Mai Mahiu daily adding that local clients will be offered 30 days’ free storage at the Naivasha ICD, with quick cargo processing and transhipment onto wagons.

“There are between eight to nine SGR trains every day and 50 per cent of them are ferrying cargo. We expect this to rise in the coming days,” Maingi said. He said it would take 30 minutes to transfer the cargo from the SGR to the MGR train.

During the launch, 22 cargo containers were transferred from the ICD for onward transportation to Malaba.

African firms seek to boost market share
Africa nuclear experts bet big on safety course
Watchdog probes market fixing among makers of animal feeds
State investigates 'missing' coffee as millers hold over 100,000 bags