Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) operations will be handled by the Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) from Chinese firm Africa Star Railways (Afristar) as the process of taking over has commenced.
KRC has already taken over some of the functions like the ticketing, security and fueling roles of the SGR.
Speaking on Spice FM radio, the corporation's Chairman Omudho Awitta, said that the complete takeover of the functions would be completed by May 2022.Chinese Citizens at work during the construction of the SGRThe Standard
“We have negotiated with the contractor so that we take over the running of the standard gauge railway. The first phase has started, we have taken over the security, ticketing and fueling of the trains. These phases will go on smoothly up to May 2022 when we take overall operations,” said Awitta.
Awitta further said that the corporation was ready and prepared to take over SGR operations.
“Instead of the 10 years, we are taking over in five years. we are prepared for it and we are ready to go,” he said.
Africa Star Railways (Afristar), is a subsidiary company of China Road and Bridge Corporation, that was contracted to manage SGR operations and maintenance by KRC in 2017.
In May 2020, the Chinese Embassy in Kenya refuted claims made by media reports that suggested the Kenyan government was urged to stop the Chinese company from running rail lines in the country.
The media reports had claimed that Kenya's State Law Office was urging the Kenyan government to stop the Chinese firm (Afristar) from running its rail lines, because revenue fell below a target.
On their part, KRC cleared the rumors by issuing a statement saying that discussions between management and Afristar were progressing well, with most issues raised by Kenya Railways having been resolved amicably.
"To date, the operator has successfully carried out its operations and maintenance contract and fulfilled all obligations under it," the KRC statement said.Ariel view of the Nairobi- Mombasa Standard Gauge Railway (SGR)File
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