Delay in activation of an online platform for tax collection at Inland Container Depot in Nairobi has pushed back the freight cargo services commissioning on the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
A dispatch from State House said freight services are slated to start in December, not today, as the passenger serices are launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Kenya Railways says the charges for containerised cargo from the port of Mombasa to the Inland Container Depot in Nairobi will be $500 (Sh50,000 per TEU.
Other freight will be charged at 0.07 per tonne/km or Sh32,800 to Nairobi.
“This will result in a 40 per cent decline in the cost of cargo transport in comparison to between Sh80,000 and Sh90,000 cost of transporting goods by road between Mombasa and Nairobi,” the agency says.
Kenya Railways CEO Atanas Maina said preparations for cargo transport were in top gear with month-long trials showing the passenger train to be inaugurated today covering the 472 kilometre journey from Mombasa to Nairobi at four and a half hours.
Mr Maina said two hi-speed trains will be used along the routes that cover Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale, Taita-Taveta, Makueni, Kajiado, Machakos and Nairobi counties.
There will be an express train that will have only one stopover at Mtito Andei while the ‘Inter-county’ one will have five to 10 minutes at Mariakani, Miasenyi, Voi, Mtito Andei, Kibwezi,Emali, Athi River up to Nairobi South Station.
The old train passenger service along the Nairobi-Mombasa route on the meter gauge used to take upto 10 hours between the two cities.
When it was discontinued, bus companies got an opportunity to monopolise operations and dictate fares that rally between Sh800 at off-peak and Sh2,500 during peak periods.
The daily Nairobi passenger train service is located in Syokimau in Machakos County, which has ushered in new matatu routes ferrying people from the city centre.
The Mombasa SGR station is at Miritini, providing commuter service with a chance to introduce new routes from the city centre to the facility.