Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) has received a major boost after Uganda committed to ferry construction materials and bulky transit goods through its networks.
The two states have agreed that the Naivasha-Malaba and Malaba-Kampala will be executed by Chinese contractors in 42 months.
“The Republic of Uganda has committed to ensuring that at least 80 percent of all cargo destined for Uganda will be transported by the SGR. The details of the mechanisms will be discussed,” the two states said in joint statement.
To the operator of SGR section, the statement offers another veil of protection after the Kenya Ports Authority also declared a policy to initially reserve 40 percent of its cargo for fast trains.
The two governments said 60 per cent of rail inputs will be shipped in from China with up to 40 percent of quota being reserved for local companies in the two countries.
Kenya’s technical team will provide assistance as well as train Ugandan technicians and other workers on SGR construction technology.
Transport Secretary James Macharia said Kenya was keen to extend the SGR facility to Malaba since Uganda had committed to channeling 80 percent of their export and import goods via SGR.
Mr. Macharia spoke last week when he led top ministry officials to Uganda for an inter-governmental meeting on the planned SGR extension project.
His Uganda counterpart, Ms Monica Aruba, said Kampala was committed to implementing the project which will be jointly funded by China’s Export and Import Bank (EXIM) at a cost of Sh230 billion.
Up to 80 percent of land along the proposed 273-kilometre Malaba-Kampala SGR route has since been acquired with more funds allocated in this year’s budget to acquire the remaining parcels of land.
On its part, Kenya is currently putting up the 120-kilometre Naivasha-Nairobi SGR at a cost of 150 billion while the Kisumu-Nairobi SGR project will cost Kshs 370billion.
Ms. Aruba urged Kenya to also solicit for funding of the Kisumu-Malaba SGR project to facilitate faster completion of the project said to offer a much cheaper alternative to road transport.
The SGR facility also gives DRC, Rwanda and Burundi a new way to ferry goods to Mombasa for export and also receive imports nearer home, thereby helping reduce costs as well as time spent on the road.
Source: Trade Mark East Africa