Freight set for major boost after KR and CMA – CGM contract signed.

KR's MD, Mr. Atanas Maina with CMA-CGM's MD, Mr. Thierry Bidau after signing the contract.

Kenya Railways (KR) has entered into a contract with Compagnie maritime d’affrètement – Compagnie générale maritime (CMA – CGM) as part of the Corporation’s efforts in marketing the Madaraka Freight Service. CMA – CGM is a major shipping line ranked as the third largest globally, going by the number of twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) handled, operating a fleet of 504 vessels that call at 420 ports in 160 countries.

In a meeting that was held at the CMA-CGM headquarters in Nairobi on March 26, 2018, KR’s Managing Director, Mr. Atanas Maina, along with CMA-CGM’s Managing Director for East Africa, Mr. Thierry Bidau (both pictured above), signed the contract in the presence of other officials from both organizations including Mr. James Siele, Business and Commercial Expert on Freight (Team Leader), Mr. Sammy Gachuhi, Business and Commercial Expert on Freight (KR) and Ms. Milly Omido, KR’s Business Development Manager.

The contract signing is among sustained efforts by Kenya Railways to draw in key players in the freight industry on a global scale. It is a remarkable milestone for the Corporation as it is the first one involving a shipping line. Previously, contracts have been between Kenya Railways and freight forwarders including one between KR and Cargo Care International that was signed in early 2018. As opposed to freight forwarders who are simply the link between shipping lines and shippers, shipping lines have greater influence on the cargo industry due to the massive scale of their operations which are borderless. They own and operate the vessels and deal with the cargo right from the actual point of origin thus according them more influence over key logistical decisions made by major customers in the industry.

The year-long contract is expected to greatly increase traffic on the Madaraka Freight Service. Under the agreement, it is expected that CMA-CGM will directly nominate huge volumes of cargo to the Inland Container Depot, Nairobi via the Standard Gauge Railway. Also, with CMA-CGM being a key player on a global platform, the contract is expected to greatly influence the perspectives of other players who are yet to embrace the Madaraka Freight Service.