SGR revenues up 14pc on travel, cargo surge


A Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) cargo train makes its way to the Mombasa Port from Nairobi in this photo taken on 14th December 2021.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit | Nation Media Group

Revenue from cargo and passenger services on the standard gauge railway(SGR) grew 14 percent in between January and October this year, buoyed by improved economic activity and travel.

Fresh data by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics(KNBS) shows that overall revenue collection hit Sh12.8 billion in the 10 months to October, a rise from Sh11.2billion realised over a similar period of 2020.

Cargo haulage on the SGR fetched Sh11.01billion between January and October with some 4.45 million tonnes of goods moved. In a similar period of last year, the SGR operator, Africa Star Railway Operation Company netted Sh10.16 billion from 3.61 tonnes of cargo moved.

Passenger numbers nearly tripled in the first 10 months of the year with some 1.58 million tickets sold compared to 534,882 over a similar period of 2020, the KNBS data shows.

The passenger business earned the SGR operator some Sh1.7 billion in the 10 months to October this year, up from Sh 598.9million the previous year.

Cargo and passenger revenues on the SGR had taken a hit last year due to the travel restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus that saw the SGR suspend passenger services in May and June.

The pandemic hit the logistics sector, including public transport and the long-haul transits, hard following the imposed night curfew and restrictions of movement in and out of the Nairobi metropolitan area, Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale, and Mandera.

The restrictions were lifted in May last year.

The freight train remained operational but the closure of ports in main source markets like Japan and China to stem the spread of the virus hurt the cargo volumes.

Kenya Railways earlier this month increased passenger capacity on the SGR train between Nairobi and Mombasa to cater to the rising demand during the Christmas festive season. The company increased coaches to 11 from eight for economy class passengers.

First-class passengers will also get an additional unit from the two coaches in operations. The increased capacity from the extra coaches takes effect from December 9 to January 6, 2022.

The Madaraka Express bookings register shows it is fully booked for the Christmas season. The train is currently pulling eight coaches (944 passengers) on economy class tickets and two coaches (144 passengers) on the first-class tickets.


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