Wednesday July 25 2012

RVR to cut Mombasa-Kampala transit days from 14 to seven

By Nicholas Kalungi

Rift Valley Railways wants to reduce transit days for goods from Mombasa to Kampala from between 14 and 21 to seven by the end of this year.

This will cut transit time by more than half from the current 14-21 days the train currently takes and will help to reduce the cost of business due to delays in receiving their goods after docking in Mombasa.

Restoring confidence
In an interview with Daily Monitor, Mr Brown Ondego, the RVR group chief executive said there is need to restore confidence among train users starting with cutting in travel time.

He said: “We are in advanced stages of renovating the railway network. We expect to finish all the work and installations by the end of November.”
“After this, we shall be able to run bigger train locomotives all the way from Mombasa to Jinja. We shall also be able to remove speed restrictions that had been placed because of the poor state of the railway network.”

Mr Ondego said: “Consequently, transit time from Mombasa to Kampala will reduce to seven days from the 14-21 days the train currently takes. ”
With seven-days deliverance time, the train will be much faster compared to the road. Recent findings indicate that after arriving at Mombasa, goods travelling on road take 44 days to reach Kampala—14 days more than the recommended 30 days.

This includes days taken before a ship is allocated a berth after docking at Mombasa, one week taken to discharge a container from a ship, 18 days taken for a ship to be moved from the port to the Container Freighter Services section, two days for a truck to move from the CFS to Nairobi and another two days taken for the truck to move from Nairobi via Malaba to Kampala.

Additionally, RVR plans to re-open the Tororo-Pakwach route in December. This route has been dormant for about 20 years.

Early this year, RVR contracted Multiplex Limited to do railway renovations in a deal worth Sh13 billion (USD 5.2 million).

They are working on repairing damaged culverts between Busembatia and Jinja, have rehabilitated 6 Locomotives and 40 wagons.

On the Kenya side of the Uganda-Kenya railway, RVR last week started repairing 70 kilometers worn out sections of the Mombasa-Nairobi railway line.

The six months project is expected to cost about Shs10 billion (Ksh337 Million) and is expected to improve cargo uptake from the Mombasa Port and general operations.

All these are expected to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Uganda-Kenya railway line.