Both Kenya and Uganda have entered into an agreement to upgrade the old Metre Gaige Railway (MGR) to ease the cost of doing business between the two nations.
In an interview with Metropol TV, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the upgrade will cost Ksh.15 billion.
Uganda has agreed to take up the project from Malaba border in Busia (Kenya) to Kampala which will cost Ksh.5 billion.
Kenya’s 460 km MGR which stretches from Mai Mahiu to Malaba will cost Ksh.10 billion.
“The distance is about 460 Km up to the border of Uganda and then we discuss with the other side of the government how they could do as well so that when goods reach Malaba the train is continuous all the way to Kampala,” said CS Macharia.
The interconnectivity, according to the Kenyan government is to ensure the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) does not lose its benefit even to the East African Community (EAC).
“…SGR started from Mombasa to Nairobi and then extended to Naivasha but to make sure that we do not lose the benefit of SGR.” SGR netted Ksh.15.2 billion profit for the full year ended December 2021 from passenger and freight services attributed to increased demand.
From Mombasa to Malaba Railway Yard, cargo will take 36 hours compared to road transport which takes 96 hours. Similarly, it will cost Ksh.97,000) per Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) compared to the road which costs Ksh.230,000 per TEU.
The Naivasha Inland Container Depot (ICD) stands on over 1,000 acres and can load two million tonnes of cargo every year.
By collecting goods from the ICD, traders from the neighbouring countries will have reduced the distance covered by trailers by over 400kms.
Meanwhile, Uganda Railways Corporation (URC) recently embarked on an ambitious revamping exercise in an effort to fast-track development and spur regional trade.
In order to further improve trade and reduce the costs of doing business, the corporation purchased four locomotives at a cost of Ksh.1.5 billion (USh.48 billion) delivered in September 2021.
Members of parliament, however, demanded a probe into how URC purchased the locomotives that are incompatible with the rails running in the country.
According to the corporation’s Managing Director Stanley Sendegeya, the locomotives have so far reduced transit time from 24 hours to 11 hours, traveled 7054 kilometers and delivered 17,318 tons of cargo from Malaba to Kampala.