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Kenya railways conduct trial freight train on SGR-MGR line

Investors transporting huge cargo will now enjoy seamless transportation from the Port of Mombasa to Malaba and to the East African region in a safe, reliable and cost-effective way, thanks to operationalisation of the Standard Gauge Railway and Meter Gauge railway link line in Naivasha.

A crane offloads cargo transported via SGR at the Naivasha Inland Container Depot. Photo by Calvin Osiemo

Kenya Railways Managing Director Philip Mainga said the cooperation had successfully run the first trial freight train on the new constructed link connecting the Standard Gauge Railway and Meter Gauge Railway in Naivasha.

He said the cargo which was loaded at the Port of Mombasa and transported via the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), was seamlessly transshipped onto the Metre Gauge Railway (MGR) line at the Naivasha Inland Container Depot (NICD), and was now destined for Malaba.

Speaking during the event held at the Naivasha Inland Container Depot located at Mai-Mahiu, Mainga said the ICD facility had a capacity to handle 120,000 Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEUs) annually and that it will handle mostly transit cargo to the Great Lakes Region including Uganda, South Sudan, DR Congo, Northern Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi.

He added that the cargo to be handled at Naivasha ICD will account for 30% of imports and exports from the Port of Mombasa.

The MD said the SGR/MGR railway link was now expected to enhance efficiency and ease the transshipment process in the region.

While reiterating that the railway line offers a service that is premised on safety, efficiency and reliability, Mainga said the linkage will be convenient for East African partner states who will no longer have to cover an entire 572 kilometers by road between Mombasa and Naivasha.

He assured transporters and importers that they could now pick their cargo at Malaba 36 hours after the train departs from the Port of Mombasa.

Mainga also assured local clients that they would be offered a 30 Days free storage with quick cargo processing and transshipment onto wagons at the Naivasha ICD.

“We will have regular, speedy and reliable delivery of cargo through well-organized trains’ schedules with strict timetables for the evacuation of cargo and empty container repatriation from the Inland Container Terminals,” said Mainga.

Noting that the corporation holds a strong safety record the MD said they will continue to strive to ensure incidences are minimized, adding that there is a Goods in Transit Cover for goods moved on Railway network.

By Esther Mwangi and Calvin Osiemo

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