All Government Departments Ordered to Use SGR

  • All government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) have been ordered to transport all import and export cargo on the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) as part of ongoing efforts to boost the uptake of freight services on the railway.

    In a circular from the office of the President dated March 7, Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua wrote: “All cargo imported and/or exported by government agencies, including cargo for projects undertaken by third parties, must be moved on SGR.”

    This means that contractors for state projects will also have no option but to move cargo on the country's biggest infrastructure project.

    Kinyua further made it clear that movement of cargo from Mombasa to Nairobi via any other means would require written permission from the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Transport.

    MDAs were further given 10 days to declare all the cargo they expect to transport in the coming financial year.

    [caption caption="An SGR cargo train"][/caption]

    The move comes less than two weeks after the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) slashed handling fees for a local 20-foot container at the Inland Container Depot in Embakasi from Sh10,506 to Sh8,160.

    It is hoped that the move would help grow the SGR revenue base, which is supposed to pay back the loan given by the Chinese government to finance the mega-project

    The government had also sought to have 40 percent of cargo arriving at the port of Mombasa transported to Nairobi on the SGR for clearance at the inland container depot.

    The move has, however, faced serious resistance from transporters and importers who complained the state is forcing the SGR on them at the expense of their businesses.

    Dock Workers Union has also strongly opposed the move maintaining that it will lead to job losses.

    [caption caption="A section of the SGR at Tsavo Bridge"][/caption]