Commodities

KTDA partners with Kenya Railways to transport tea using SGR

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SGR cargo train. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Under the deal, tea from KTDA-managed factories will be transported from the tea-growing counties to the Nairobi Freight Terminal where it will be loaded onto Kenya Railways wagons and subsequently transported to the Port of Mombasa.
  • The maiden trip from the partnership saw KTDA transport 31 containers of packed tea which translates to 800 tonnes via the SGR Thursday.

Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) managed factories will now be able to transport their produce via the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line from Nairobi to the Port of Mombasa for onward export, the corporation has said.

Under the deal, tea from KTDA-managed factories will be transported from the tea growing counties to the Nairobi Freight Terminal where it will be loaded onto Kenya Railways wagons and subsequently transported to the Port of Mombasa.

The maiden trip from the partnership saw KTDA transport 31 containers of packed tea which translates to 800 tonnes via the SGR Thursday.

“We are glad to have this partnership with you. I assure you that Kenya Railways is up to the task. We have enough capacity to handle all the cargo you can bring our way,” said KRC managing Director in a statement Thursday.

The corporation   is partnering with KTDA to transport farmers tea from Nairobi to Mombasa at a time it has benefitted from the government policy order to ferry goods to Nairobi and other hinterland regions from Port of Mombasa via SGR.

According to Economic Survey 2021 report by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) the volume of freight transported through the SGR increased by 4.8 percent from 4.2 million tonnes in 2019 to 4.4 million tonnes in 2020.

The revenue realised from SGR freight, however, reduced by 19.6 percent from Sh13,013 million in 2019 to Sh10,460 million in 2020. 

The decline was mainly on account of discounts and promotional rates introduced following the commencement of Mombasa-Naivasha SGR cargo services.

KRC also suffered a blow as a result of Covid-19 where the number of passengers handled through the SGR declined by 49.2 percent to 812,000 in 2020. 

This decline was largely attributed to the suspension of SGR passenger rail services from April to May 2020 due to measures instituted by the government to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The reduction in passenger numbers resulted in a sharp decline in revenue.

The survey also showed the Mombasa port suffered minimal due to the effects of Covid-19 where total cargo throughput at the port dropped by 0.9 percent from 34.440 million metric tonnes in 2019 to 34.116 million metric tonnes in 2020.