Government Banks on Rail Transport Sector to Boost Fight Against Covid-19 Virus

The Government in its efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic has taken measures to upscale the role of the rail transport sector in the local transport and logistics scene. The move is aimed at reducing instances of the spread of the virus by truck drivers or cases of the truck drivers contracting the virus.

Speaking at the Naivasha Inland Container Depot, the Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works Cabinet Secretary Mr. James Macharia said that following discussions between the Government and partner states of the East African Community, it was recommended that measures to reduce instances of truck drivers interacting with members of the public should be put in place.

“There is a lot of concern from members of the public on the conduct of truck drivers at the border points where they continually interact with the locals. This presents a risk whereby they could contract or pass on the virus in case anyone has it,” he said. “The usage of the Naivasha ICD and the Refitted Mv Uhuru to transport cargo will limit instances of interaction and the risk of transmission,”

In addition to reducing chances of Covid-19 transmission, the move will help de-congest the border points which have experienced congestion the truck drivers await to undergo testing before clearance.

The move also will reduce the transit times cargo takes to move from the Port of Mombasa to the end destination. The Madaraka Express Freight Service train takes ten hours to transport cargo from Mombasa to Naivasha whereas the Refitted Mv Uhuru Ship takes thirteen hours on the waters. This is a significant reduction in time compared to a truck traveling from Mombasa to the end destination.

A cargo train being offloaded at the Naivasha ICD

Cargo being offloaded at the Naivasha ICD

This was during an inspection tour of the facility which was commissioned late last year. The Transport CS said that all Transit Cargo destined for Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and other neighboring countries should delivered to the facility from the Port of Mombasa.