Kenya Railways partners with tea agency to transport goods via SGR
Kenya Railways and the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) have entered into a partnership, which will see factories managed by KTDA transport their products via the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line from Nairobi to the port of Mombasa for further export.
As part of the partnership, tea from the factories managed by KTDA will be transported from tea-producing counties to the Nairobi freight terminal where it will be loaded onto Kenya Railways wagons and then transported to the port of Mombasa.
The partnership’s maiden voyage saw KTDA transport 31 containers of packaged tea – 800 tonnes – via SGR.
Speaking in Mombasa upon receiving the first batch of KTDA tea to be transported by Kenya Railways, Professor Hamadi Boga, Principal Secretary of the State Department for Crop Development and Agricultural Research, said the decision to transport tea via SGR is an innovative step that will reduce transportation costs and provide better value to farmers.
âKenya Railways tea transport projects have been in the works for some time now, as we explore new technologies and infrastructure to improve the efficiency of the tea supply chain. We are aware that the progression to Kenya Railways will ensure faster, safer and more convenient tea transport, âhe said.
Kenya Railways Managing Director Phillip Mainga assured the KTDA team that going for SGR was the best choice because of the benefits associated with rail transport.
He said that Kenya Railways guarantees large volumes of goods transported on shortened transit times due to the high transport capacity and high train speeds.
âWe have enough capacity to handle all the cargo you can bring. Right now we run between 9 and 11 freight trains a day between Mombasa and Nairobi and we can do even more if needed, âhe said, adding that the safety of the tea shipment was guaranteed.
Mainga added that the partnership would lead to decongestion of the roads.
âTransporting tea via Kenya Railways means that the roads will be decongested because one train can carry an equivalent volume that would take many trucks to transport by road,â he said.
âToday we are transporting 31 containers of tea in one train. It would have taken 31 trucks if we had to do it by road. So we are delighted to be a part of this partnership with KTDA as Madaraka Express Freight Service is a faster, safer and more efficient option.
Save on transport costs
KTDA Holdings Limited Chairman David Ichoho said the organization pilots 20,000 packages per week as it continues to streamline the process of fully migrating from road to rail.
âEach year, we transport around 300 million kilograms of processed teas and we anticipate that these large volumes will translate into greater savings for farmers as we gradually migrate to Kenya’s railways. Initially, we plan to transport 20,000 packages each week while we adjust the system and processes before the full migration, âhe said.
Kenya Railways will also soon begin transshipment of goods from SGR to the Meter Gauge Railway line at Longonot station.
This will ensure that cargo is transported seamlessly by rail from Mombasa Port to Malaba and Kisumu.
As a result, the company will attract more customers including cargo destined for Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
KTDA is also setting up a tea processing facility next to the Nairobi Inland Container Depot (ICD) which will process all teas for onward transportation by Kenya Railways, underscoring KTDA’s commitment to the new mode of tea transportation. .