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Posta taps SGR to cut cost of ferrying parcels

KRC is set to launch SGR freight train operations in January 2017. FILE PHOTO | NMG
KRC is set to launch SGR freight train operations in January 2017. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Postal Corporation of Kenya (PCK) will start transporting its parcels and mail via the standard gauge railway (SGR) next January, cutting its transportation costs by half.

PCK general manager for mail Eliud Lell told the Business Daily in Nairobi that PCK will spend about Sh40,000 per day to transport the parcels and mail.

Currently, the ailing State corporation which reported a Sh1.5 billion loss in the financial year ended June has been spending about Sh80,000 per day to transport parcels via road between Nairobi and Mombasa.

“The cost of transporting parcels via train is likely to reduce by half,” he said. Mr Lell said discussions with the Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) on the mode of billing were at an advanced stage.

KRC is set to launch SGR freight train operations in January 2017, supplementing the existing Madaraka express and inter-county train service.

“We are set to start transporting our parcels and mail via the SGR train in January.

‘‘This means that we will get away from the road and acquire a postal wagon if all goes well,” said Mr Lell.

Plans by the PCK to switch to transporting its parcels via rail come barely a few days after KRC revealed that exporters will enjoy a 50 per cent cut in rail freight cost starting January.

Under the subsidised rate, it will cost Sh275 per tonne of agricultural input, Sh330 light bulky goods and Sh660 per tonne of a vehicle within a distance of 200 kilometres from Nairobi to Mombasa, the revised rate card shows.

In the opposite direction (Mombasa-Nairobi), the SGR freight service will charge Sh550 per tonne of agricultural inputs, Sh1,430 per tonne of light cargo and Sh1,320 per tonne of vehicles.

Cargo trains will charge Sh1,100 per tonne of agricultural inputs, Sh2,860 light bulky goods and Sh2,640 per tonne of vehicles within a distance of between 350 and 400 kilometres from Mombasa to Nairobi.

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