The number of long haul trucks passing through the Mariakani weighbridge on the Nairobi-Mombasa highway was three times lower at 2,259 trucks per month by December 2019, compared with 6,400 trucks per month in 2017 before the onset of the standard gauge railway freight services.
The latest Northern Corridor report shows that Mariakani weighbridge recorded average monthly traffic of about 2,495 mainly originating from Mombasa port.
Before the introduction of SGR freight services, the Mariakani weighbridge registered an average of 6,400 trucks monthly, but this number has been dropping since the Kenya Ports Authority introduced ex-hook railage, where cargo is offloaded direct from ship-to-rail wagon.
In October 2019, for example, the weighbridge registered 2,687 trucks weighed in the facility reducing to 2,539 in November and closing the year with only 2,259 trucks.
In the numbers registered, most of the trucks were ferrying cargo to northern Tanzania through Voi-Taveta road.
Shippers have attributed the increase use of SGR services to the benefits traders are getting from the service.
“SGR offers a fast mode of transport, hence it benefits importers who want their cargo to be availed on time,” said Geoffrey Ng’ang’a, one of the importers.
At Athi River weighbridge, data indicate four-fold traffic when compared with Mariakani weighbridge.
The highest traffic at Athi River weighbridge includes from Mombasa, Nairobi surrounding environs and Namanga border point.
In October, report from Northern Corridor indicates 10,228 trucks passed through the facility while 10,805 and 11,755 used the weighbridge in November and December 2019 respectively.
Following the commencement of SGR freight operations in 2018, the cargo handled by the ICD increased from an average of 30 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEUs) per day to 1,300 TEUs per day end of December 2019.
KPA managing director Daniel Manduku said quick evacuation of cargo by SGR to the ICD in Nairobi has helped eradicate yard congestion. On average last year, Nairobi ICD received seven trains per day carrying an average of 106 Teus of imports from Mombasa daily while downstream, the ICD handled average of five trains daily.
The ICD’s throughput for 2018 was 257,000 Teus which accounted for 57 per cent of capacity utilisation and 418,830 Teus in 2019; accounting for 93 per cent against an installed capacity of 450,000 Teus.
The volume of exports, including empty containers from Nairobi ICD to Mombasa increased by 94 per cent from 80,320 TEUs in 2018 to 155,935 TEUs in 2019.
However, it is noted that the volume of empty containers accounted for the majority of total exports TEUs.