The Madaraka Express Freight Service is set experience an upturn in fortunes following positive reception of pleas to have importers transport their cargo via the Standard Gauge Railway line Nairobi.
The service which is rapidly gaining importance as a transport solution for large cargo consignments destined for Kenya and the region has succeeded in convincing shippers to adopt the Through Bill of Lading (TBL) freight model of importing goods into the country.
Under the model, importers will nominate their cargo destined for Nairobi and Kenya’s hinterland for delivery to the Inland Container Depot in Nairobi via the Standard Gauge Railway line. This move is expected result in an increase in volumes cargo transported via the SGR line.
The Service whose operations are coordinated by Kenya Railways, Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Revenue Authority recently received a boost when Maersk Line; the world’s largest container shipping company delivered a full freight train to the Inland Container Depot in Nairobi.
There are currently four daily trains available with plans to increase to 12 by the end of the year and each train has a haulage capacity of 4,000 tons (216 TEUS) hauled on 54 wagons with a designed speed of 80 km per hour. Clearing and documentation services on the Madaraka Express Service are handled at the Port of Mombasa or at the customs-controlled ICD Facility in Nairobi.
The SGR has been beneficial for local imports and transit imports, cutting down transit times from Mombasa to Nairobi by 24 hours. The current operations mainly involves transportation of containerized cargo (20ft and 40 ft containers) such as steel and general containerized cargo; and bulk grain in hoppers, bulk fertilizer in hoppers and vegetable and other oils in bulk tank tainers.