The Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) has extended promotional freight charges on the standard gauge rail by three months as the the country continues to woo shippers into embracing the multi-billion investment.
The promotional tariff which has been extended to June 30, will see SGR freighters pay a flat fee of Ksh35,000 ($347) for a 20-foot container and Ksh40,000 9 ($396) for a 40-foot from Mombasa to the Embakasi Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Nairobi.
“Madaraka Express freight service customers will continue enjoying the promotional tariff that was introduced in January 5, 2018. The tariff’s expiry period has been extended from April 4, 2018 to June 30, 2018,” the agency said in a public notice on Wednesday.
The move comes amid a wave of discontent across the shipping fraternity as clearing agents cite inefficiency at the Nairobi ICD which has also been blamed by container freight stations for loss of business.
The KRC, however, said it will continue to charge Ksh25,000 ($248) to transport a 20-foot container and Ksh30,000 ($297) for a 40-foot container from ICD to Mombasa.
The flat charges which were supposed to end on April 4 include cost of handling cargo and returning of empty containers.
The move by KRC to extend its freight charges on SGR train comes barely two weeks after the Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua ordered government departments and agencies to transport imports and exports cargo on the SGR.
Mr Kinyua’s March 7 directive would also cover cargo for projects undertaken by third parties.
Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (Kifwa) has opposed the move.
“The only reason the SGR is not popular is because we have chosen the narrow route of avoiding responsibility as cargo intervenors. The only way of ensuring cargo is atop the wagon is by ensuring efficiency by all parties” said Kifwa chairman William Ojonyo.
However, shippers have joined the government campaign by asking importers to use the bill of lading naming the Embakasi ICD as the destination.