Kenya receives new wagons from China for railway freight operations

MOMBASA, Kenya, March 4 (Xinhua) -- Kenya received 430 wagons from China Monday to enhance freight operations on its railway network nationwide. The batch includes 230 wagons designed for the Chinese-built Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line and 200 wagons for the Meter Gauge Railway line.

Mohamed Daghar, principal secretary at the Ministry of Roads and Transport, said the wagons will boost the evacuation of cargo from the port of Mombasa and help alleviate road congestion.

"Given that Kenya's economy is one of the fastest growing in the region, we are required to make strategic investments in the transport and logistics sector in order to ensure that movement of cargo is executed efficiently and effectively," Daghar said while flagging off the wagons at Mombasa Port.

He added that all the wagons have a capacity of 70 tonnes or higher, enabling movement of heavy containerized cargo which in turn reduces damage to the roads.

Philip Mainga, the Kenya Railways managing director, said that Kenya Railways freight division has engaged several clients on long-term freight agreements and has put in place plans to ensure that it offers a reliable, safe and efficient service.

"In total, we are procuring 500 wagons which entails 300 wagons designed for operations on the Standard Gauge Railway line and 200 wagons designed for operations on the Meter Gauge Railway line," Mainga said. "The wagons are of various specifications to ensure that the cargo moved from the port of Mombasa is able to move all the way to Kampala through the standard gauge railway/meter gauge railway transshipment facility at Naivasha."

The arrival of the new wagons comes barely a month after Kenya received 50 new wagons from China to facilitate operations on the SGR freight service in February.

Data from the Ministry of Transport shows a 21 percent increase in cargo transported via the meter gauge railway from 787,000 tonnes in 2022 to 1,000,955 tonnes in 2023. Additionally, cargo transported via SGR increased 7 percent to 6.53 million tonnes in 2023 from 6.09 million tonnes in 2022, with passenger numbers also rising 12 percent to 2.73 million from 2.39 million in 2022.

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