Kenya’s first commercial cargo train begins operation
The first commercial cargo train arrived at the ultra-modern inland container depot in Nairobi on Monday, which was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta two weeks ago.
Kenya's Ports Authority head of Inland Container Deports Symon Wahome said the new commercial cargo train will revolutionize the transportation of cargo in Kenya.
"While the meter train used to carry 20 to 30 containers, the standard gauge train will carry 216 containers," Wahome said in a statement released in Nairobi.
The cargo train carried 104 containers, which is almost equivalent to the trucks operating daily on the Mombasa-Nairobi highway.
President Kenyatta recently launched the upgraded Inland Container Depot (ICD) to facilitate the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) cargo services under the Northern Corridor Integrated Project in line with other Vision 2030 projects.
The enhanced depot has a capacity of 450,000 containers, further equipped with four SGR loop lines within the ICD, four rail-mounted cranes and eight rubber-tire gantry cranes to assist in loading, offloading and movement of containers around the yard.
The 25-ton axle flat wagons have a capacity to carry a payload of 70 tons and will move at a speed of 80 km per hour, taking an average of eight hours between Mombasa and Nairobi.
The arrival of the cargo train is in line with Kenyatta's government policy of reducing costs of doing business in the country.
In his New Year's message, Kenyatta said the new commercial cargo train would cut costs and delays in trade for Kenyans and its neighbors.
He said the delivery of a world-class railway on time and within budget would attract world-class manufacturing and value-addition investments, which are critical to creating jobs and business opportunities.
Kenyatta said there currently would be four trains operating daily but, in the fullness of time, eight cargo trains are expected to operate to and from Mombasa.