SGR Photo: Intelligence BriefsKenya recently approved freight tariffs for its Mombasa-Nairobi standard gauge railway.

Speaking to The East African Kenya Railways Corporation (KPC) managing director Atanas Maina said the corporation has received approvals of the tariffs from the Ministry of Transport, which will be half the road haulage rates, and will now begin discussions with transporters.

“We had to go through the process of the approval of the freight tariffs, which the Cabinet Secretary approved last week. We will now start engaging the freight players on the implementation, and possibly enter into contracts with them to move their cargo,” Maina said.

According to The East African KRC will charge $500 to transport a 20ft container between Mombasa and Nairobi, half of the $1 000 that truck owners charge. However, traders say they will spend an additional $200 on the last mile transport to industries and other destinations in Nairobi.

Last mile talks

The SGR cargo line will run freight trains with 54 double-stack flat wagons, carrying 216 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) per trip, with a load of 4 000 tonnes on each train.

“One of the key issues we will be engaging the stakeholders on is the last mile. This discussion will include whether the customers want us to do a full package that will see us deliver the goods to their doorstep or to the inland container depot,” Maina said, adding that they hope to start signing contracts with cargo firms over the next three months before officially rolling out services in January.

From next month, Kenya will also scale up the cargo service and undertake a three month trial period to allow business people and cargo freighters to do pilot runs on the SGR line.

Since June, Kenya Railways has been doing a daily eight hour cargo trip from Mombasa to Nairobi but only with government supplies.