A Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) train fully laden with 108 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) of Maersk Line Through Bill of Lading (TBL) containers arrived in Nairobi from Mombasa last 13 April. Compared to the Meter Gauge Railway, the 472-km journey through the SGR is expected to reduce the cargo transport time from an average of 48 hours to 8 hours.
Mombasa is one of the main gateways to the landlocked countries in Eastern Africa. The Kenya Ports Authority reported approximately 676,921 TEU full containers came through the port of Mombasa in 2017. Of this, about 80 percent are imports and 20 percent exports.
According to Mads Skov-Hansen, Maersk Line Eastern Africa Managing Director, the direct link between the port in Mombasa and the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Nairobi offers alternative solutions to transport cargo from Kenya’s international trade partners to key inland markets.
“Moving goods shipped by Maersk Line, to Mombasa, onward through inland corridors in a timely and efficient manner is crucial to our customers. Solutions to transport massive cargo volumes quickly, safely, and efficiently to delivery destinations from outside Kenya give our customers the ability to better control their supply chain,” says Skov-Hansen.
He added that this is a crucial process to Kenya as a trading nation and investment destination. Introducing efficiencies into the import and export processes, by putting in place infrastructure and clearer processes to support this results in reduced costs, faster delivery to market, and ultimately gives local businesses a boost.
“We work with our key stakeholders in the industry to enable trade in Kenya by engaging in discussions to find solutions to further improve transport efficiencies,” says Skov-Hansen.
He adds that the upcoming conference announced by Kenya Railways to gather recommendations and discuss service standards and operational concerns with industry stakeholders and experts is a significant boost for the import and export markets that directly impact the Kenyan economy.
Maersk Line is the world’s largest container shipping company, known for reliable, flexible and eco-efficient services.