Uhuru launches SGR cargo operations to Naivasha

President Uhuru Kenyatta has officially commissioned the standard gauge railway freight operations to the Naivasha Inland Container Depot (ICD).  The ICD is expected to provide over 500 more jobs to residents and industries over the existing 10,000 jobs with key installations on cargo clearance yet to be done.  The ICD is on the recently launched Nairobi-Suswa SGR line.

The Sh150 billion line cuts across Nairobi, Kajiado, Narok and Nakuru counties with four passenger stations.  While launching the ICD on Tuesday, President Kenyatta said the project will be a big boost to the cargo handling capacity and promote tourism to Lake Naivasha. He called upon critics to support the infrastructure disclosing that already, two shipping lines have committed to transporting cargo directly from Mombasa to Naivasha.

The Naivasha ICD will handle two trains per day, Uhuru said. The project is expected to support the productivity,  reduce inequality and poverty levels across the country.  He said the project is a significant investment since the railway has been a vital component in the realisation of the Vision 2030 and the accomplishment of his Big Four agenda. 

Uhuru added that the government is committed to improving infrastructure across the country to make Kenya a preferred destination for investors across Africa.  In November 2013, the government launched the Nairobi-Mombasa SGR which has now contributed to over Sh6.8 million to the Kenyan economy. "Activities at Nairobi Inland Depot has facilitated handling of over Sh6.8 million in terms of cargo between Mombasa to Nairobi depot," Uhuru said. 

He added that despite the impressive achievement, the country needed to extend the line to increase cargo handling capacity to accommodate the volumes of revenue increment.  Transport CS James Macharia said operations from the Nairobi-Mombasa terminus have increased the number of trains from one to 28 daily. "The operations from Nairobi to Mombasa are doing very well and from the first train which was launched in January 2018, now we have 14 trains on one way and 14 others on the other way," Macharia said.

He noted that the ICD project is expected to do well regarding the availability of power in Naivasha.  The cargo train which was flagged off to Naivasha accommodated over 180 containers which translate to 50 trucks on the road. The project is expected to ease transportation of cargo from the Mombasa Port to Uganda, Rwanda, Uganda, South Sudan and parts of DRC. 

He said works on the restoration of Section 2B of the old railway line to Malaba is on course. 

"The freight services to Naivasha will play a huge role in decongesting Nairobi and Mombasa facilities and also ease cargo transport to Western parts of the country."

Edited by R.Wamochie 

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