Kenya will begin rehabilitating the 127-kilometre Voi-Taveta metre gauge railway line to serve the Kenya Ports Authority’s inland container depot at Taveta on the border with Tanzania.
Kenya’s Planning Principal Secretary Saitoti Torome said plans to refurbish the old line were complete and works will commence in the 2022/2023 financial year.
The rehabilitated line is expected to connect the Taveta ICD with the port of Mombasa making it easier to move cargo and boost transit volumes, export and transhipment to Tanzania and Burundi.
The cargo throughput from the two countries at the port of Mombasa has been declining in the past few years. About 232,000 tonnes of cargo destined for Tanzania were handled at the port of Mombasa in 2021, with 1,000 tonnes going to Burundi.
The Kenya Ports Authority has secured a 50-acre plot at the Taveta-Holili border crossing where it will build the inland freight hub.
The railway and freight hub will bring port facilities closer to importers and exporters and will reduce the distance from Mombasa to Bujumbura via the Northern Corridor by 358 kilometres.
It will also facilitate faster and more efficient trade through the Taveta/Holili One-Stop-Border-Post.
Notice to vacate
The Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) has issued a notice to encroachers on railway land reserves along the Voi-Taveta railway corridor to vacate before the end of June.
“We wish to bring to the attention of all members of the public that the corporation intends to rehabilitate the 127-kilometre of Voi-Taveta MGR line. A 14 days notice is hereby issued to all unauthorised persons who have encroached or are living on and/or operating along the MGR line corridor to voluntarily vacate immediately or face forceful eviction upon expiry of this notice to give way for the planned revitalisation exercise,” reads part of the notice by KRC.
The corporation said upon expiry of the notice, all illegal structures, and property found along the corridor will be demolished and or removed at the encroachers' risk and cost. Some sections of railway land along the corridor had been grabbed and stalls built on it.
The line is now dilapidated and rail bars are missing, especially inside Tsavo West National Park.
The railway line which was built in 1924 by the British government during World War I stopped operations in 2000.
According to the KRC masterplan, once the line has been rehabilitated, it will be linked to the standard gauge railway at Voi.