Kenya Railways and the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) have entered into a partnership, which will see factories managed by KTDA transport their products via the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line from Nairobi to the port of Mombasa for further export.
As part of the partnership, tea from the factories managed by KTDA will be transported from tea-producing counties to the Nairobi freight terminal where it will be loaded onto Kenya Railways wagons and then transported to the port of Mombasa.
The partnership’s maiden voyage saw KTDA transport 31 containers of packaged tea – 800 tonnes – via SGR.
Speaking in Mombasa upon receiving the first batch of KTDA tea to be transported by Kenya Railways, Professor Hamadi Boga, Principal Secretary of the State Department for Crop Development and Agricultural Research, said the decision to transport tea via SGR is an innovative step that will reduce transportation costs and provide better value to farmers.
“Kenya Railways tea transport projects have been in the works for some time now as we explore new technologies and infrastructure to improve the efficiency of the tea supply chain. We are aware that the progression to Kenya Railways will ensure faster, safer and more convenient tea transport, ”he said.
Kenya Railways Managing Director Phillip Mainga assured the KTDA team that going for SGR was the best choice because of the benefits associated with rail transport.
He said that Kenya Railways guarantees large volumes of goods transported on shortened transit times due to the high transport capacity and high train speeds.
“We have enough capacity to handle all the cargo you can bring us. Right now we run between 9 and 11 freight trains a day between Mombasa and Nairobi and we can do even more if needed, ”he said, adding that the safety of the tea shipment was guaranteed.