The first batch of 500 wagons to be used for ferrying cargo via the rail has been flagged off, with officials saying the key plan is to move cargo transport from roads to rail.
Speaking at the Port Reitz Freight Station in Mombasa when he officially flagged off 50 wagons, Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen said 250 more SGR wagons expected in Kenya from China within two weeks with the remaining 200 Meter Gauge Railway wagons expected within three months.
Murkomen says the new wagons each with a capacity of at least 70 tonnes, will boost Kenya Railways Corporation’s cargo transport capacity.
“This is laudable as it reduces damage to our roads,” the Transport Cabinet Secretary said.
Murkomen says the government has imported 20 coaches to be used by Madaraka Express service. He says the coaches, which comprise of four business class coaches, three first class coaches and 12 economy coaches and one power car, are expected in Kenya in coming weeks.
He said: “Of these, six will have provisions for people with disabilities.”
The new wagons and coaches are the first consignment to be imported in six years.
Kenya Railways Corporation Managing Director Philip Mainga said: “We are glad now that through the ministry we have been able to get the required financing to increase our fleet in terms of wagons and the number of locomotives that we use to move cargo.”
The volume of cargo ferried via the Standard Gauge Railway increased by 7% to 6,533,028 tones in 2023 while the number of Madaraka Express passengers rose 12% to 2,727,727 during the period.
The SGR now has a freight fleet of 1,620 wagons for moving containerized bulk and unbulked cargo.