The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR)'s freight service is set to expand its range of cargo for transportation to increase volumes transported once the Port Relief line completes construction, an official said on Tuesday.
Atanas Maina, managing director of Kenya Railways, said Port Relief line will allow the freight trains to access Berth No.1 and enable uptake of bulk cargo for transportation to the Inland Container Depot in Nairobi.
"We expect to complete construction of the Port Relief line by September. This will enhance our operations and allow us to also transport bulk cargo since the trains will be loaded at Berth No. 1. This will increase the volume of cargo we transport and enhance our operations on the service," Maina said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
He said the SGR freight service dubbed Madaraka Express Freight Service is offering seven freight trains a day.
The service that has performed smoothly over the past six months has transported over 800,000 tonnes with the bulk of the cargo being transported from Mombasa to Nairobi.
Maina said Kenya Railways and China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) that operate the passenger and freight service recently approved the Dangerous Goods Transportation Regulations for SGR operations, paving way for haulage of dangerous cargo from the Port of Mombasa to the Inland Container Depot Nairobi (ICDN).
The regulations spell out safety, security, transportation management and other requirements for consignment and operation for dangerous goods.
According to the regulations, dangerous cargo in containers or tank containers can now be safely and conveniently transported on the Madaraka Express Freight Service.
The statement came as the Madaraka Express Freight Service transported its first consignment of temperature-sensitive cargo recently. The cargo was transported in the refrigerated container (reefer) from Mombasa to Nairobi.
"The reefer is a specialized wagon designed for transportation of delicate cargo normally categorized as dangerous cargo which includes flowers, meat products, milk, chocolates and fuel," said Maina.
"We have not had such a service on offer on the Metre Gauge Railway line operations but the Standard Gauge Railway rolling stock accords us the comfort of offering a wide variety of options for the freight customers which match the standards you find in the developed world," he said.