January 1, 2018: Kenya operated the first standard gauge railway(SGR) cargo train between Mombasa and Nairobi in the New Year. According to the reports, the SGR cargo train was dispatched much before schedule.

The train arrived in Nairobi at the ultra-modern inland container depot which was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta a fortnight ago. The arrival of the cargo train is in line with President Kenyatta’s promise to reduce the cost of doing business in the country.

The cargo train carried 104 containers, which is almost equivalent to the trucks operating daily on the Mombasa-Nairobi highway.

According to the Daily Nation, in his New Year message, President Kenyatta said the new commercial cargo train would cut costs and delays in trade for Kenyans and its neighbours.

The star report says that last month during the launch of Makadara Express inter county train service, Transport CS James Macharia said the cost of moving a container from the Port of Mombasa to Nairobi will not only be cheaper, but it will now be done within 24 hours.

According to the Kenya’s Ports Authority head of Inland Container Deports Symon Wahome, the new commercial cargo train will revolutionise the transportation of cargo in Kenya. “While the meter train used to carry twenty to thirty containers, the standard gauge train will carry 216 containers,” said Wahome.

There will four trains operated daily in the beginning which will later increase to eight cargo trains. It is expected that the Mombasa Port’s total annual freight handling is expected to exceed 50 million tonnes by 2030, doubling from 24 million tonnes in 2015.

The port handled 11.4 percent more cargo in the first quarter of this year, largely due to increased efficiency. It handled 7.2 million tonnes of cargo between January and March against 6.5 million tonnes recorded in a similar period last year.