Standard Gauge Railways begins commercial freight services

The minimum chargeable distance for all types of goods for up and down direction is 300 kilometres.

The first commercial cargo train arrived in Nairobi yesterday at the ultra-modern inland container depot which was launched by President Kenyatta a fortnight ago.

According to the Kenya’s Ports Authority head of Inland Container Deports Symon Wahome, the new commercial cargo train will revolutionize the transportation of cargo in Kenya.

“While the meter train used to carry twenty to thirty containers, the standard gauge train will carry 216 containers,” said Mr. Wahome.

Wahome said four trains will operate daily and later increased to eight cargo trains to and from Mombasa.

The arrival of the cargo train is in line with President Kenyatta’s government policy of reducing costs of doing business in the country.

In his new year’s message, President Kenyatta said the new commercial cargo train would cut costs and delays in trade for Kenyans and its neighbours.

The President said the delivery of a world-class railway on time and within budget, would attract world-class manufacturing and value-addition investments, which are critical to creating jobs and business opportunities.

The cargo train carried 104 containers, which is almost equivalent to the trucks operating daily on the Mombasa-Nairobi highway.

To transport a 20' container costs $500 and a 40' (30 tonnes and below) container costs$700, inclusive of the last mile transportation costs.

The rates are inclusive of terminal placement charges and all loaded containers are charged at gross weight.

Domestic traffic is charged at the local currency whereas transit or Inland Container Depot traffic is charged in US Dollars.

Value Added Tax (VAT) is levied by the Government at 16 per cent on domestic freight.

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