Lorries are still transporting more cargo from the port of Mombasa compared to Standard Gauge Railway trains, a report has said.
The weekly report by the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) shows that 6,509 twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs) were delivered by road compared to 4,887 TEUs by the SGR freight service.
KPA Head of Corporate Affairs Benard Osero said it was the trend the world over, where road transport carries more cargo than rail.
“At its best, once SGR is fully completed, the maximum cargo it can haul cannot exceed 40 per cent of the total cargo at the port. In essence, road transport will always have adequate business.
Therefore, truck owners have no reason to worry, especially as far as the last mile is concerned,” Mr Osero said. Transporters were said to prefer using lorries because SGR did not have the capacity.
The port receives at least 5,000 containers every day. Out of these, the eight trains are able to transport 800 containers (108 each) a day.
However, the statistics provided by KPA do not involve a month-by-month comparison between rail and road transport.
To increase the number of containers ferried by SGR, KPA had announced plans to start ferrying cargo on double-stacked trains from the port to the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Nairobi. The pilot was done last month.
Double-stack rail transport is a form of intermodal (involving two or more different modes of transport in conveying goods) freight transport where railroad vehicles carry two layers of containers.
With the double-stacked trains, the authority would drop use of trucks to feed goods from ships to the rail in what is expected to lower the cost of transport and speed up the movement of goods.
Osero had said this was meant to facilitate easier movement of bulky and heavy goods. Imported containers Separately, the port received at least 9,872 imported containers during the week that ended October 17.
Out of these, at least 5,467 belonged to local importers. “The transit market registered 4,405 TEUs down from 4,735 TEUs recorded in the previous week.
Uganda remained the transit market leader, with 3,412 TEUs which is equivalent to 77.45 per cent,” according to the KPA report. Other transit destinations included Tanzania, which had 347 TEUs, followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo with 328 TEUs. South Sudan had 147, Rwanda 110, Somalia 45 and Burundi 11 TEUs. During the week under review, 11 container vessels docked at the port.