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It is more expensive to refurbish locomotives than building a new one – Chinese envoy

Kenyatta on Tuesday flagged off the first cargo train, set to cut the cost and time involved in transporting goods to the capital/FRANCIS MBATHA

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 1 –  It would be more expensive and complicated to refurbish old locomotives than building new ones, says Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Ming, who is in the country representing President Xi Jinping.

Ming, who is in the country representing President Xi Jinping, has said China does not export second-hand equipment.

“China does not export second-hand clothes, it does not export second-hand cars, and it is by no means possible to export second-hand locomotives,” said Ming.

The locomotives were the source of a heated debate when they arrived in Mombasa four months ago with allegations that Kenya got a raw deal.

At a press briefing in Nairobi, Ming added that the technology, equipment and skill used in the construction of railway are the same standards used in China.

Ming, who is the former Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, says 44,000 Kenyans will have acquired technical skills at the end of construction of the Mombasa – Naivasha line.

“In the future, Kenya will need personnel who can operate and manage this railway…this is our ultimate goal, to transfer the full management of the railway line to Kenyans,” added Ming.

He said the SGR is an early harvest outcome of the 10-point corporation plan between China and Africa.

“The extension of the railway will create a network of railways in East Africa, facilitating industrialization and boosting the economy of the region.”

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