Kenya Railways and the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) have entered into a partnership which will see KTDA managed factories transport their produce via the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line from Nairobi to the Port of Mombasa for onward export.
Under the deal, tea from KTDA-managed factories will be transported from the tea growing counties to the Nairobi Freight Terminal where it will be loaded onto Kenya Railways wagons and subsequently transported to the Port of Mombasa.
The maiden trip from the partnership saw KTDA transport 31 containers of packed tea which translates to 800 tonnes via the SGR.
Speaking while receiving the first batch of KTDA tea to be hauled by Kenya Railways, State Department for Crop Development and Agricultural Research, Principal Secretary, Hamadi Boga, noted that the move to transport tea via SGR is an innovative step that will lower tea transport costs and deliver better value to farmers.
“Plans to transport tea via Kenya Railways have been in the pipeline for a while now as we explored new technologies and infrastructure to enhance efficiencies in the tea supply chain. We are cognizant that the progression to Kenya Railways will guarantee faster, safer and more convenient transportation of tea,” Hamadi Boga State Department for Crop Development and Agricultural Research, Principal Secretary.
Kenya Railways Managing Director, Phillip Mainga, assured the KTDA team that opting for the Standard Gauge Railway was the best choice because of the benefits associated with railway transport.
He outlined that Kenya Railways guarantees large volumes of cargo transported over shortened transit times due to high haulage capacity and the high speeds of the trains. He also assured KTDA of the safety of their cargo while in transit.
He further added that the patnership will lead to a decongestion on roads as one train can transport an equivalent volume that would take many trucks to transport by road.
“Today we are transporting 31 containers of tea on one train. This would have taken 31 trucks if we were to do it by road. We are therefore glad to be in this partnership with KTDA because the Madaraka Express Freight Service is a faster, safer and more efficient option,” Phillip Mainga.
KTDA Holdings Limited said they are looking forward to transporting 20,000 packs per week as they continue to streamline the process for full migration from road to rail transport.