The President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, has inaugurated the first freight train services on the standard-gauge line from Nairobi to the Naivasha Inland Container Depot (ICD).
The first freight train to Naivasha was flagged off at the Nairobi Terminus.
The 120 km Nairobi-Naivasha railway line is a railway extension connecting Mombasa port to Nairobi, the country’s capital. The Chinese-built Mombasa-Nairobi SGR was launched in 2017.
“The commencement of the freight services to Naivasha and the completion of the Naivasha ICD is expected to boost the development of the Naivasha Industrial Park,” Kenyatta said at the official ceremony, which was also attended by a Chinese delegation led by Wang Yong, China’s State Councilor.
Two trains per day will serve the Naivasha ICD. Two shipping lines have committed to take their cargo directly from the Port of Mombasa to Naivasha using rail freight services. The new railway connection removes the congestion at Mombasa Port, reduces transit times for freight transport and enhances transit cargo security.
Since the launch of the Mombasa-Nairobi railway line, Nairobi ICD handled 6.8 million tonnes of cargo.
“Kenya and China are engaged in a mutually beneficial partnership aimed at benefitting the people of the two countries. The implementation of the Sino-Kenya comprehensive strategic relationship is progressing well, and the partnership has become an example for the Asian country’s relationship with the rest of Africa,” Wang Yong said.
The new service now extends SGR freight operations from Mombasa to the Naivasha Inland Container Depot, taking transit cargo deeper into the country’s hinterland.
The launch of the cargo services comes less than two months after the Kenyan president kicked off the passenger services on the same route. The Madaraka Express service transported more than 10,000 passengers on the Nairobi-Naivasha route, with demand significantly outstripping our carrying capacity, the President commented.