, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 30 – The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) cargo train will start operations on Tuesday, effectively cutting down the cost of transporting goods from Mombasa, as well as reducing time it gets to the destination.
The new Chinese-built route aimed at cementing Kenya’s position as the gateway to East Africa will be launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta at Port Reitz in Mombasa.
According to China Roads and Bridges Corporation Chairman Lu Shan all is set for Tuesday’s launch as well as Wednesday passenger train service launch.
“This is a very significant project not only to the government of Kenya, but also to us. We delivered the project which is set to serve the Kenyan people,” he stated.
“Of course there were a lot of challenges and confronting different situations. We also had to maximize job creation for the Kenyan people and this was a priority,” he stated.
The railway is the country’s biggest infrastructure project since independence and a key selling point for the ruling Jubilee party ahead of the August elections.
The train that will set off from Mombasa at 3.00 pm will be received in Nairobi between 12.00 am and 2.00 am, as the President prepares to also unveil the first passenger train Thursday morning.
Kenya Railways Corporation has already announced freight charges for containers at Sh50,000 per container compared to the current Sh80,000 by train and Sh90,000 by road.
The Embakasi depot occupies 29 hectares of land and has a stacking yard with an annual capacity of more than 180,000, twenty-foot containers.
The Sh22 billion facility will handle big volume of cargo and is expected to play a crucial role in the efficiency of the SGR.
The freight train is projected to haul more than 40 per cent of the 1.1 million 20 feet long containers passing through Mombasa port each year.