Kenya Railways picks advisers on SGR fares

Kenya Railways managing director Atanas Maina. file photo | nmg
Kenya Railways managing director Atanas Maina. file photo | nmg 

The Kenya Railways Corporation has hired consultants to help determine the tariffs for the standard gauge railway (SGR).

Managing director Atanas Maina said Aarvee of India in consortium with Wanjohi & Mutonyi Consulting Engineers (technical), Equity Investment Bank (financial) and Amolo & Gacoka Advocates (legal) are expected to help the government decide the fares for the new railway.

“They will come up with pricing (for freight and passenger services on the SGR) this month,” Mr Maina told the Business Daily in an interview.

He said various variables would determine the tariffs including the capital costs of setting up the infrastructure as Kenya seeks to recoup the deployed funds over time.

“This is infrastructure developed for the market at very high cost for the sake of helping this country to undertake social economic growth.
“We are coming up with a model that in the long run will be sustainable for railway operations so that the clients (Kenyans) can be comfortable,” said Mr Maina.

The SGR, whose construction is now entering homestretch, would commissioned in June. It is expected, however, to kick off commercial operations from December after a trial phase, said Mr Maina.

Kenya Railways has said operations would feature freight and passenger train services, with the passenger operating two types of trains.

The Intercity passenger train will offer an express service between Mombasa and Nairobi stopping only at Mtito Andei to allow passage of the passenger train going in the same or opposite direction.

The second category of trains is the “county train” which will make a stop at each of the seven intermediate stations at Mariakani, Miaseny, Voi, Mtito Andei, Kibwezi, Emali and Athi River on its way to either destination to allow residents of the said areas access train transport services.

The China Road and Bridge Company recently said building of all the nine stations along the 472km railway line between Mombasa and Nairobi, as well as all other facilities, should be complete by May 15, two weeks to the official launch by President Kenyatta on June 1.

The line is expected to significantly cut the journey time between Nairobi and Mombasa, changing the nature of transport between the two cities.

The SGR network will extend to Malaba, first with construction on the Nairobi to Naivasha section, set to commence later this year.

It will eventually link to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan. The government estimates that about 40 per cent of cargo will be transported through the railway line, saving regular maintenance costs of roads.