The government has reassured Kenya Railways (KR) of its commitment to facilitating a fair and seamless transition between the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and Meter Gauge Railway (MGR) at the port. This move aims to provide a level playing field for all transport sectors operating at the port.

Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen emphasized that the government aims to bolster railway transport’s role in Kenya’s socioeconomic development by expanding its network, modernizing infrastructure, and adopting innovative technologies by 2027.

During the launch of the Kenya Railways 2023-2027 Strategic Plan, the CS highlighted the sector’s increasing significance in enabling Kenya’s national development agenda through the enhancement of the Madaraka Express, Nairobi Commuter Rail, and Meter Gauge Railway services.

The strategic plan outlines efforts to extend the railway network, particularly the SGR from Naivasha to Malaba on the Uganda border, with the goal of enhancing access and boosting regional trade. This aligns with the historical aspiration of linking the Indian Ocean coast to the Atlantic coast.

Murkomen emphasized the importance of infrastructure expansion for enhancing competitiveness, stressing the possibility of leveraging private sector funds to achieve this goal. The aim is to make the northern corridor more competitive and facilitate intra-Africa trade.

The plan sets ambitious objectives for KR, including infrastructure development, freight and passenger transport expansion, market share growth for the port, workforce skill-building, and institutionalization of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) standards.

KR aims to significantly expand its network, modernize infrastructure, and adopt innovative technologies by 2027 to advance both passenger and freight services.

Murkomen highlighted the plan’s focus on extending the SGR network and modernizing existing lines and stations to improve safety and reliability.

Expressing his support for the strategic plan, Murkomen described it as a significant milestone for KR and the nation, emphasizing its holistic approach encompassing infrastructure, technology, and people.

He reiterated the ministry’s commitment to ensuring the plan’s success by providing leadership and guidance, underscoring the importance of innovation, sustainability, and collaboration in building a railway network that serves citizens’ needs, drives economic growth, and preserves the environment.

Since the launch of the SGR and ongoing MGR rehabilitation, Kenya has witnessed a notable increase in rail cargo volume, from five percent in 2018 to 26 percent by 2023, reflecting the positive impact of rail transport on port throughput.

Principal Secretary State Department for Transport Mohammed Daghar underscored the strategic plan’s alignment with global, regional, national, and sectoral development agendas, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the AU Agenda 2063.

KR Board Chairman Abdi Duale hailed the strategic plan as a roadmap for the corporation’s growth over the next five years, empowering it to achieve ambitious targets and drive progress in the transport industry.

The comprehensive strategic plan aims to guide KR into a new era of growth and development, enhancing the efficiency, reliability, and sustainability of rail transport in Kenya, ultimately revolutionizing the transportation system for a more connected and prosperous future.