Editorials

Keep the rail connected

sgr

The efficacy and impact of the entire SGR can only be seen and felt through cargo transport. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The plan to create a seamless rail transport from the Mombasa port to Kampala is a step in the right direction.
  • Uganda has signed a Sh5 billion deal with a Chinese firm to revamp its century-old metre gauge railway line between Malaba and Kampala.
  • The 260 kilometre Kampala line will be linked to the standard gauge railway (SGR) track through the Naivasha to Malaba old railway, which Kenya is upgrading.

The plan to create a seamless rail transport from the Mombasa port to Kampala is a step in the right direction.

Uganda has signed a Sh5 billion deal with a Chinese firm to revamp its century-old metre gauge railway line between Malaba and Kampala.

The 260 kilometre Kampala line will be linked to the standard gauge railway (SGR) track through the Naivasha to Malaba old railway, which Kenya is upgrading.

Workings in advanced economies indicate that rail transport provides the backbone for industrialisation and support for trade. Therefore, the efforts to move goods from the Mombasa port via SGR and metre gauge line to Uganda is timely and is welcome.

But while we laud the imminent reopening of this key railway link, the lessons learnt from the problems that led to its collapse must be taken into account.

First of all, Kenya Railways and its Uganda counterpart must get the pricing of the service right. This will help motivate people to use the service and in turn make it viable in the long run for the operator.