The Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) has taken a significant stride in boosting cargo transport efficiency by strategically partnering with trucking firms to address the enduring issue of last-mile cargo connectivity. This collaborative effort is in response to recommendations from stakeholders advocating increased utilization of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) as the favored transportation mode. The goal is to streamline delivery procedures, specifically from the Mombasa Port to ultimate destinations, with an unwavering focus on providing traders with timely and cost-effective services.

The new plan empowers customers to receive their goods directly at their doorstep, eliminating the cumbersome last-mile hurdle. This can be accomplished either through the bill of lading (TBL) or merchant haulage (non-TBL) options, with the latter incurring an additional cost. This innovative approach proactively addresses a critical bottleneck that has historically dissuaded traders from utilizing railway services, ushering in an era of more seamless transportation experiences.

Government Endorsement:

Kipchumba Murkomen, the Transport Cabinet Secretary, vocalized his endorsement for this initiative, underscoring its significance as a principal suggestion from stakeholders to bolster SGR adoption. Emphasizing end-to-end logistical services, he not only announced plans but also stressed their importance for governmental collaboration with diverse agencies along the northern corridor, aiming at bottleneck reduction. The objective is to streamline and rationalize the transportation process, making it both more efficient and cost-effective for all involved stakeholders.

The government demonstrates its alignment with the Kenya Ports Authority’s (KPA) five-year strategic plan through a steadfast commitment to address the last-mile challenge. This dedication, focused on reducing costs and improving efficiency, is pivotal in fostering economic growth, enticing investments, and bolstering the expansion of regional economies. As the last-mile problem is effectively tackled, traders will potentially save significant amounts, rendering railway transport more cost-effective than its counterpart—the road transport option.

KRC previously gazetted promotional tariffs, aiming to intensify the incentivization of SGR use. Traders who opt for railway over road transport can achieve significant cost savings, amounting to more than $1,200 per container. The objective of these measures is dual-fold: promoting SGR utilization and enhancing the nation’s overall economic well-being through contribution.

The Strategic Vision:

Kenya Railways, trucking firms, and government agencies collaboratively strive to develop seaports that offer world-class services—a reflection of their strategic vision. Emphasizing the importance of aligning with East Africa Vision 2050’s aspirations in maritime, KPA Managing Director William Ruto articulated this imperative succinctly: “Our objective is simple—it is to create efficient and competitive port services.” These developments not only facilitate global seaborne trade but also promote its growth.