EASING TRANSPORTATION

[PHOTOS]: Naivasha SGR-MGR link cuts Kenya-Uganda travel by 2 days

The Naivasha ICD will be a transhipment hub for East Africa’s cargo.

In Summary

• It previously took 3 days hours to transport cargo from Mombasa to Malaba using the old MGR. 

• With the SGR link from Mombasa to Naivasha, it will now take only 28 hours for cargo to travel from Mombasa to Malaba by rail.

The Standard Gauge cargo train arrives at Naivasha Inland Container Depot on Monday 17, January. The new ICD will be a transshipment hub where the SGR from Mombasa to Naivasha meet the Meter Gauge Railway(MGR) from Naivasha to Malaba. PHOTO/WILFRED NYANGARESI
The Standard Gauge cargo train arrives at Naivasha Inland Container Depot on Monday 17, January. The new ICD will be a transshipment hub where the SGR from Mombasa to Naivasha meet the Meter Gauge Railway(MGR) from Naivasha to Malaba. PHOTO/WILFRED NYANGARESI

For the first time in 120 years, Kenya will cut rail travel time of cargo between Mombasa and Malaba by a whole two days.

This comes after President Uhuru Kenyatta and Lt. General David Rubakuba Muhoozi inspected the Naivasha ICD on January 12, 2022.

The Meter Gauge Cargo train arrives Naivasha ICD. PHOTO/WILFRED NYANGARESI
The Meter Gauge Cargo train arrives Naivasha ICD. PHOTO/WILFRED NYANGARESI

The Naivasha ICD will be a transhipment hub for East Africa’s cargo. It will be where the new SGR from Mombasa to Naivasha meets the newly refurbished MGR from Naivasha to Malaba.

This has been made possible by fusing the new Standard gauge railway (SGR) and the old meter-gauge railway (MGR) at Naivasha.

Containers being offloaded from the SGR to MGR at Naivasha ICD. PHOTO/WILFRED NYANGARESI
Containers being offloaded from the SGR to MGR at Naivasha ICD. PHOTO/WILFRED NYANGARESI

It previously took 3 days or 72 hours to transport cargo from Mombasa to Malaba using the old MGR. But with the SGR link from Mombasa to Naivasha, it will now take only 28 hours for cargo to travel from Mombasa to Malaba by rail.

This means that cargo travel time by rail has been cut by 48 hours across the same distance. From Mombasa to Naivasha-the train will take 9 hours.

The Standard Gauge cargo train arrives at Naivasha Inland Container Depot on Monday 17, January. The new ICD will be a transshipment hub where the SGR from Mombasa to Naivasha meet the Meter Gauge Railway(MGR) from Naivasha to Malaba. PHOTO/WILFRED NYANGARESI
The Standard Gauge cargo train arrives at Naivasha Inland Container Depot on Monday 17, January. The new ICD will be a transshipment hub where the SGR from Mombasa to Naivasha meet the Meter Gauge Railway(MGR) from Naivasha to Malaba. PHOTO/WILFRED NYANGARESI

Once in Naivasha, it will take between 30 minutes to 1 hour to transship cargo from SGR to MGR. After transhipment, it will take 18 hours from Naivasha to Malaba.

At no point will cargo touch the ground throughout its time within Kenya’s territory.

The Standard Gauge cargo train arrives at Naivasha Inland Container Depot on Monday 17, January. The new ICD will be a transshipment hub where the SGR from Mombasa to Naivasha meet the Meter Gauge Railway(MGR) from Naivasha to Malaba. PHOTO/WILFRED NYANGARESI
The Standard Gauge cargo train arrives at Naivasha Inland Container Depot on Monday 17, January. The new ICD will be a transshipment hub where the SGR from Mombasa to Naivasha meet the Meter Gauge Railway(MGR) from Naivasha to Malaba. PHOTO/WILFRED NYANGARESI

The new SGR/MGR link will move cargo six times faster by rail than by road from Mombasa to Malaba.

Currently, it takes approximately 7 days to transport cargo by road from Mombasa to Malaba.

With the new SGR-MGR link, the same distance will be covered by rail in just 28 hours.

This means that for every trip a truck does from Mombasa to Malaba, a train will have done six trips.

Containers being offloaded from the SGR to MGR at Naivasha ICD. PHOTO/WILFRED NYANGARESI
Containers being offloaded from the SGR to MGR at Naivasha ICD. PHOTO/WILFRED NYANGARESI

Traders will save over $1,200 per container if they choose to use rail over the road to transport cargo from Mombasa to Malaba.

And this is because it costs $2,000 or Sh200,000 per container to transport cargo by road.

But by using the new SGR/ MGR rail link it will cost $860 or Sh90,000 to transport the same cargo from Mombasa to Malaba.

The Standard Gauge cargo train arrives at Naivasha Inland Container Depot on Monday 17, January. The new ICD will be a transshipment hub where the SGR from Mombasa to Naivasha meet the Meter Gauge Railway(MGR) from Naivasha to Malaba. PHOTO/WILFRED NYANGARESI
The Standard Gauge cargo train arrives at Naivasha Inland Container Depot on Monday 17, January. The new ICD will be a transshipment hub where the SGR from Mombasa to Naivasha meet the Meter Gauge Railway(MGR) from Naivasha to Malaba. PHOTO/WILFRED NYANGARESI

This means that for every Sh2 spent transporting cargo from Mombasa to Malaba by road, Sh1 will be spent by railway. The new SGR link with the old Colonial MGR shows how old and new tech can be used to make nationwide transportation much more effective.

Containers being offloaded from the SGR to MGR at Naivasha ICD. PHOTO/WILFRED NYAGARESI
Containers being offloaded from the SGR to MGR at Naivasha ICD. PHOTO/WILFRED NYAGARESI

With the SGR/MGR link, Kenya will have the second-fastest railway link from border to border in Sub Saharan Africa.

Kenya Railways Team leader Business and Operations James Siele and MD Philip Mainga during a media tour at the Naivasha Inland Container Deport on Monday 17, January. The new Naivasha SGR-MGR link cuts Kenya-Uganda Distance by 2 days./WILFRED NYANGARESI
Kenya Railways Team leader Business and Operations James Siele and MD Philip Mainga during a media tour at the Naivasha Inland Container Deport on Monday 17, January. The new Naivasha SGR-MGR link cuts Kenya-Uganda Distance by 2 days./WILFRED NYANGARESI

Kenya won’t be the first country to merge old and new infrastructure to meet its transportation needs.

The current London tube network of railways and tunnels has been in existence for over 150 years.

But the trains that run the London tube routes are not more than 10 years old.

Kenya Railways staffers control operations at Naivasha Inland Container Depot on Monday 17, January. The new Naivasha SGR-MGR link cuts Kenya-Uganda Distance by 2 days. PHOTO/WILFRED NYANGARESI
Kenya Railways staffers control operations at Naivasha Inland Container Depot on Monday 17, January. The new Naivasha SGR-MGR link cuts Kenya-Uganda Distance by 2 days. PHOTO/WILFRED NYANGARESI

In fact, the London tube is the most efficient mass transport system globally not because of using the new trains. But because of fusing the old and new railway networks.

Containers being offloaded from the SGR to MGR at Naivasha ICD. PHOTO/WILFRED NYANGARESI
Containers being offloaded from the SGR to MGR at Naivasha ICD. PHOTO/WILFRED NYANGARESI