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A new passeger train arrives at Mombasa station | Coastweek

MOMBASA (Xinhua) -- A new passeger train arrives at Mombasa station as it carries out a test run on Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway (SGR). Stretching out behind in the distance are the Mombasa Moi International Airport, Mombasa harbour installations and modern suburbs of the island city. XINHUA PHOTO - CHEN CHENG

Kenyan modern train Cargo service expands with safe operation

by Ronald Njoroge NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) linking Mombasa and Nairobi has achieved safe operation since its launch, moving tonnes of cargo and millions of passengers.

As of Aug. 8, the train had operated for 800 days, according to the operator which provides the service and maintains the railway line.

"The passenger service is performing well with 949,000 passengers being transported from Jan. 1 to Aug. 8 ," the operator said in a statement on Saturday.

As of May 31, according to the operator, the passenger train service dubbed Madaraka Express had delivered about three million passengers since its launch, a recommendable record.

The amount of cargo freight ferried from Jan. 1 to Aug. 8 was 245,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) containers, an increase of 130,000 TEU containers compared with those shipped in the corresponding period in 2018, said the operator.

"We actively organize to unload bulk cargo in Athi River yard to facilitate owners to pick up their cargo. Since July this year, the amount of bulk cargo offloaded was 6,423 tonnes," added the operator.

The SGR train service was rated a successful model of investment in Africa because of its sound performance, analysts had said.


.Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) train terminus at Miritini in Mombasa | Coastweek

MOMBASA (Xinhua) -- Local tourists from upcountry are seen on arrival at the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) train terminus at Miritini in Mombasa. XINHUA PHOTO - FRED MUTUNE
Holding fast to this vision to be the leading driver of Kenya’s economic and social development, the operator will facilitate cargo freight transported on the basis of good passenger service and safety operation, it added.

Phillip Mainga, acting managing director of state-owned Kenya Railways Corporation said in a commentary published in the Sunday Standard that greater efficiency at the port of Mombasa and the streamlining of cargo clearance operations at the Inland Container Depot have greatly helped in driving uptake and positioning the SGR freight service as a commercially plausible proposition.

"With the leadership we have provided as the sector regulator and what we have achieved so far, we believe that the SGR is poised to return the investment Kenya has put in it in the long run, as it becomes entrenched as an integral part of our country’s and the region’s overall transport infrastructure through the seamless connectivity leveraged by the revamping of the meter-gauge railway," Mainga said.

"Today the SGR line operates an average of eight cargo trains daily, but this is elastic and sometimes goes as high as 14 depending on the quantum of cargo arriving at the port. Conventional and containerized cargo topped the uptake charts, the line achieving its founding objective of supporting the country’s nascent industrial and agro-processing sectors," said Mainga.


Chinese standard gauge railway service operator hiring more Kenyans

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Chinese firm running the standard gauge railway (SGR) in Kenya is seeking to hire more Kenyans as it expands its local employees’ base.

Africa Star Railway Operation Company Ltd. is hiring train crew, passenger stewards, cargo and track and bridge maintenance workers, among others, the firm said in a notice on Saturday.

Some of the jobs are available along the Nairobi-Mombasa route, which is popular with domestic tourists.

Others are on the ongoing extension from Nairobi to Naivasha, in particular at Suswa, Ngong and Mai Mahiu.

"Priority will be given to candidates residing in areas mentioned," said the firm, which operates both passenger and freight services and maintains the high-speed railway line.

Cargo freight on SGR surged 156 percent in the first half of the year, with the service ferrying 197,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit containers, up from 77,020 in the same period in 2018.

This was due to more importers from Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo using the service as they ferry goods from the Kenyan port in Mombasa, according to Dai Yunjie, spokesman for Africa Star.

Similarly, the number of passengers using the train rose to 764,000 in the first half of the year.

A fully loaded container cargo train prepares to leave Mombasa harbour for the Nairobi Inland Container Port near Emakasi | Coastweek

MOMBASA (Xinhua) -- A fully loaded container cargo train prepares to leave Mombasa harbour for the Nairobi Inland Container Port near Embakasi.  PHOTO - KENYA PORTS AUTHORITY


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