The government has announced the arrival of 50 new wagons to bolster the operations of the Madaraka Express freight service.
According to the Roads and Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen, a second shipment of 250 wagons was loaded at the Tianjin port in China in late January and is expected to arrive this month.
“Today we received 50 new wagons to facilitate the operations of the Madaraka Express freight service. This is a key milestone for Kenya and the region as we seek to improve rail services and efficiency.” He said.
The CS said his ministry will ensure that the necessary human capital, operational assets and information systems for achieving these goals is in place.
Adding that: “For Kenya to remain competitive we must continue to improve our transport infrastructure. The new wagons are part of our strategic response to market dynamics, and the need to meet the ever-changing customer demands and gain a competitive edge.”
He said the government, is at an advanced stage in the plans to extend the SGR line from Naivasha to Malaba.
“We are also looking to partner with the private sector through PPP model to improve the transportation of dry cargo and incorporate cool chain logistics services along the railway line.” The CS said.
Adding that: “The ultimate goal is to expand the SGR beyond Uganda and Rwanda, all the way to the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
This was the first time new wagons have been added since the launch of SGR in May 2017.
Twenty of the wagons procured will also have power plugins to enable the movement of refrigerated containers, a hitherto untapped business potential for SGR.
The CS noted that the refrigerated wagons will be a big boost to the horticultural sector adding that Kenya will be able to respond to the preferences of customers from around the world.