Economy

SGR records flat revenue despite increased cargo

sgr cargo

SGR cargo train at the Nairobi terminus station in this photo taken on April 27, 2019. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

The Standard Gauge Railway registered a marginal drop in revenue in the first quarter of the year, in a stagnant performance that may delay its break-even.

The latest data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that the passenger and cargo trains generated Sh3.65billion in the first quarter of 2022, down from Sh3.66 billion between January and March last year, translating to a 0.32 percent drop.

Cargo trains accounted for the biggest chunk of the revenue generated in the first quarter of 2022 at Sh3.08 billion representing 84 percent of the total revenue while passenger service posted Sh569.27million.

The flat growth comes at a time when the logistics sector is reeling from the Covid-19 shocks, which affected long-haul transits following the imposed night curfew and restrictions on movement in and out of the Nairobi metropolitan area, Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale and Mandera.

The cargo service remained in operation as the passenger trains were halted in line with the government’s directives, to support flow of goods through the Mombasa port.

Despite the flat revenues, the volume of freight transported through SGR increased by 10 percent from 1.39 million tonnes in the first three months of 2021 to 1.53 million tonnes in the first quarter of 2022.

KRC in December 2021 gazetted promotional tariffs to ferry cargo from the Mombasa port to Malaba at $860 (Sh101,419) for a 20-foot container weighing up to 30 tonnes, and $960 (Sh113,212) for a container weighing above 30 tonnes.

Charges on a 40-foot container weighing up to 30 tonnes stood at $1,110 (Sh130,902) while those above 30 tonnes were levied $1,260 (Sh148,591).

During the period, passenger revenue also grew by 15 percent in the first quarter of 2022 to hit Sh569.27million from Sh494.71million in the corresponding period.

The number of passengers handled through the SGR during the period under review increased by 70,254 passengers to hit 518, 780 in the first three months of 2022.

The Kenya Railways Corporation operates an SGR train from Nairobi to Mombasa and an inter-county service that stops at Athi River, Emali, Kibwezi, Mtito Andei, Voi, Miasenyi, and Mariakani stations.

It charges Sh1,000 on economy class seats and Sh3, 000 on fast class seats between Nairobi and Mombasa –a journey that takes about four and half hours.

Children below 3 years are not charged any fee to take a ride on the train while those from 3-11 year pays half the price adults pay on economy and first-class tickets.

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