Kenya Railways lowers cargo charges

President Uhuru Kenyatta launches the upgraded Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Embakasi. PHOTO| PSCU
President Uhuru Kenyatta launches the upgraded Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Embakasi. PHOTO| PSCU

Barely a month after launching cargo services on the standard gauge railway, the railway operator has nearly halved cargo charges in a bid to drive up demand.

This comes as cargo transporters continue to shy away from the railway service citing lack of clear coordination between multiple government agencies.

This is the second cut in cargo charges by Kenya Railways in an apparent move to ease tension with shippers.

The promotional tariff will run from January 4 to April 4.

During the period cargo owners will be charged Sh25,675 to move a 20 foot container from Mombasa to the inland container depot in Nairobi while a 40 foot container will be charged at Sh30,800.

“Kenya Railways has introduced a promotional tariff for the Madaraka Freight Service customers. The promotional tariff applies to cargo between Port Reitz, the NRB Freight Terminal and the ICD, Embakasi,” Kenya Railways said in a notice in the dailies.

Loaded containers from the Nairobi ICD will be charged at Sh15,400 and Sh20,500 for the 20 and 40 foot containers respectively.

The SGR cargo service has been slow to take off over lack of cargo to transport as sector players looked for better customer service.

The impasse has also seen Kenya Railways revise its cargo train schedule due to lack of cargo.

Industry players have stated that the efficiency hiccups have been caused by lack of a clear agreement between the railway operator and cargo owners.

The Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (KIFWA) had last week called for talks with representatives from Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Railways to solve the impasse.

Shippers have further complained of slow clearance of cargo at the Nairobi terminal calling for 30 days free storage to be able to clear the backlog.

Under the SGR cargo plan, Kenya Railways has been set a target of moving six million tons to the Nairobi ICD.

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