Restrictions placed on overweight containers

July 25, 2012
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Materials for improvement of the railway network are offloaded at the Port of Mombasa/XINHUA

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 24 – Containers weighing over 28 tonnes will soon be prohibited from being transported on road networks and instead will be required to be carried over rail.

Transport Permanent Secretary Cyrus Njiru says in order to reduce over reliance on the roads, the policy should take effect in a matter of days.

“We cannot continue destroying our roads. Trucks are used at the last point between the container depot and the factory and even for that section they should not be over 28 tonnes. We have asked RVR (Rift Valley Railways) to triple its carrying capacity,” he said.

Container traffic at the Mombasa Port increased by 23.9 percent from 369,667 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2011 to 458,116 TEU in 2012.

The port is extremely overloaded with its existing container terminal, which was designed to handle a throughput of 250,000 TEUs per annum, through three berths that handle a total of 695,000 TEUs as at 2010.

Kenya Ports Authority Managing Director Gichiri Ndua says completion on a second container terminal is expect in March 2016.

Meanwhile, designs for the standard gauge railway line from Mombasa to Nairobi are complete, paving way for the construction of the first half of the extended line from the Mombasa port to Kampala.

With the project currently in the tendering process, Njiru says he hopes they can break ground by end of the year. However until then, rehabilitation of the existing line between Mombasa and Nairobi is underway.

“Rails are being laid from around Changamwe towards Nairobi and we will replace the entire 70 kilometres of the worn out sections at the curves. We’ll get the rail to carry around 35 percent of the total volume by December this year,” he said.

The rail has only been carrying about four percent of its original design capacity due to its deteriorated state.

The rail line between Nairobi and Mombasa carries 70 percent of the volume of cargo transported from the port.

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