Rail News

DATE

September 16 , 2021


The Chinese Express Train Running in East Africa

Global Times 
September 14, 2021 

"My friend, please listen to my long story of the railway.
It cements friendship and it brings hope.
My hometown is more beautiful day by day,
My compatriots are more high-spirited day by day."

The railway that Kenyan singer Sudi Boy sings about is the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR). Spanning from the port city of Mombasa in the east to the capital city of Nairobi in the west, the SGR is Kenya's first railway since independence. Though the construction took only less than three years, Kenya had awaited it for a long century.

I. A railway of development running through East Africa

Mombasa and Nairobi were previously connected by a narrow-gauge railway (1-meter gauge) built in 1896. Due to disrepair and aging of equipment, the railway could run at a mere 22 km/h on average and the entire journey would take 21 hours. Besides, its operation was unstable. Any breakdown would keep it out of service for days and there were frequent accidents such as derailments and collisions with animals.

The narrow-gauge railway couldn't meet the development needs of the Port of Mombasa, either. Being the biggest port in East Africa, the port of Mombasa has 17 international sea routes and business ties with 80 ports around the world. Most of the cargo going in and out of East Africa is handled here. Yet due to the limited capacity of the narrow-gauge railway, most of the cargo had to be transported by road. To some extent, frequent road traffic overload and cargo delays at the port strained the development of Mombasa and Kenya at large.

A new railway was a century-old dream for the country and people of Kenya. Since its operation, the SGR has promoted the growth of the local logistics industry. Goods loaded in Mombasa in the morning will arrive in Nairobi in the afternoon, with logistics costs slashed by up to 40 percent. Transportation of goods from the port to the hinterlands of East Africa has become much more efficient. As the railway network and supporting infrastructure in East Africa improve, the logistics industry throughout the region will be galvanized, and economic cooperation and cultural exchanges between countries will reach a new height.

The integrated development of the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway, the Port of Mombasa and the Mombasa Special Economic Zone is unveiling an exciting scene of industrialization. As President Uhuru Kenyatta said emotionally, the SGR will "reshape the story of Kenya for the next 100 years." 

Source
https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202109/1234204.shtml

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