The president today will launch Cargo services on the Naivasha SGR following a launch on Passenger services in October. The flag-off set for today will be attended by an envoy from the President of China, including the chairman of China Road and Bridge Corporation. The launch will follow a groundbreaking of a 1000 acre Naivasha Economic zone.
The KSh150 billion Naivasha SGR is part of Phase 2A, a continuation of the Phase One Mombasa-Nairobi railway. Phase 2B and Phase 2C will follow, connecting Naivasha-Kisumu, and Kisumu-Malaba. Ultimately, the project will link the East and West Coast of the country, then into regional markets.
“For now, the intention is to connect to the meter gauge and give the seamless connectivity to the west of this area and then into the regional markets,” Standard quotes Transport PS Esther Koimett.
Proponents of the project argue that it will cut the reliance on road transport heading to Kenya’s interior. However, there are concerns that the cargo services launch before the Naivasha inland port is ready. Moreover, Citizen posits that the government is yet to develop social amenities to support the construction of the line.
According to Economist David Nashon, the early launch even before the Container Depot is ready serves to boost investor confidence.
What they would be looking for in an early launch is the boosting of investor confidence. The government would want to maintain the rail option for importers in the hinterland ahead of the full operation of the line.
Economist David Nashon
Lastly, truckers fear that the government might force them to ditch the road and transport goods via the SGR. Such will threaten their livelihoods.