Kenya will receive 250 wagons from China in February 2024 meant for the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) in a move aimed at boosting the Madaraka Express Freight Service.
This Monday, February 5, Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen received 50 wagons, some of which will be used to transport perishable products.
In total, the freight service will receive 300 wagons with CS Murkomen remarking it would improve rail services and efficiency.
“For Kenya to remain competitive, we must continue to improve our transport infrastructure,” Murkomen stated.
Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen flagging off new wagons for Madaraka Expressway Freight Service.
The former Elgeyo Marakwet senator further explained that President William Ruto’s administration would ensure there is necessary human capital, operational assets and information systems to optimise the nation’s rail system.
“The new wagons are part of our strategic response to market dynamics, and the need to meet the ever-changing customer demands and gain a competitive edge,” Murkomen added.
Since the launch of SGR by former President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2017, this was the first time that new wagons were being added.
It was further reported that Madaraka Express would start transporting perishable products which will pose competition to private trucking companies.
To aid that, 20 of the 50 received wagons have been equipped with power plugins to enable the movement of refrigerated containers.
The Transport Ministry noted this would drive revenues as it was an untapped business frontier.
In particular, the wagons will be used to transport horticultural products to the Port of Mombasa for export.
“We will be able to respond to the preferences of customers from around the world,” Murkomen noted.
In April 2022, Kenya and the Netherlands signed an agreement to facilitate the export of horticulture through SGR.
At the time, it was reported that Kenya Railways would embark on re-modification work to install reefer plug-in points for the containers.
A Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) train while in transit on June 18, 2021.