For the first time in history all Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) managed factories will start transporting their produce through the Standard Gauge Railway line from Nairobi to the Port of Mombasa.
This a major breakthrough for Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya who said in a joint statement with Kenya Railways that it is ‘piloting’ 20,000 packs per week as it continues to streamline the process for full migration from road to rail
This first export consignment which transported a total of 31 full 40 ft containers was loaded at Nairobi Freight Terminal (NFT) and started its journey Wednesday, 5th January 2022, at Nairobi Terminus.
It made a momentary stop at Kibwezi Station to pave way for the passenger train and arrived in Mombasa before the crack of dawn Thursday morning, 06th January 2022.
“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, “said Agriculture PS Prof. Hamadi Boga after flagging off the first tea consignment
In September last year, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya announced the move noting that it will reduce transport costs.
CS Munya said this will be done by considering the quantity of tea needed in the auction to cut on the warehousing costs with the other being left at the factories.
He said previously, tea used to be stored even for six months in Mombasa warehouses which attracted a lot of storage charges.
The CS also flagged off 65,000 tonnes of tea fertilizer from Mombasa to Nairobi through the SGR last year.
Munya said that using the SGR to transport the fertilizer is cost effective and fast, ensuring within three weeks all the fertilizer will be in warehouses in Nairobi.
On Thursday January 6, the Kenya Railways Managing Director Mr Philip Mainga said SGR was glad to have entered partnership with KTDA and exuded confidence that Kenya Railways is up to the task.
“We have enough capacity to handle all the cargo you can bring our way. At the moment we are running 9 to 11 freight trains every day between Mombasa and Nairobi and we are able to do even more if need be,” said Mainga. “But of paramount importance is the promise our service offers. We are always on time and the safety of your cargo is guaranteed,” he added.