The rehabilitation of the 240-kilometer Nairobi-Nanyuki Railway line is complete, with President Uhuru Kenyatta set to officially launch it soon.
Stakeholders are anticipating that the meter-gauge railway line will pave way to cheaper and safer fuel for Kenyans in the Mount Kenya and Northern regions.
Kenya Railways is expecting to generate over Sh370.4 million revenue per year from the revived line. The corporation has finalised negotiations on proposed rates with the business community for the cargo and passenger trains with the bulk of the revenue coming from the commercial operations.
Making the announcement in Nanyuki on Wednesday, August 5 during a familiarisation tour of the line, Petroleum Principal Secretary Andrew Kamau told stakeholders that after the pipeline, railway transport is a cheaper way to transport fuel than road because it is faster and safer.
“As government we are very excited that with funds that came from KPC, Kenya Railways has been able to execute this project within a few months and we look forward to its commissioning very soon,” said Kamau.
The Nairobi-Nanyuki Meter Gauge Railway was rehabilitated by Sh1.8 billion which was part of KPC’s remittances to the exchequer in form of special dividends.
“I am happy that we already have an anchor client for this rehabilitated line in the name of Vivo Energy Kenya who are ready to utilize the line by ferrying fuel from Nairobi to Nanyuki for easy access to consumers in several counties in this region,” the PS added.
On his part, Transport PS Solomon Kitungu said that the line which had been unutilized for many years was now ready to open up several economic opportunities in the region.
“I congratulate Kenya Railways for the speedy completion of this project because the economic benefits of this refurbished line especially in agriculture will go beyond the Mount Kenya region to other neighbouring counties. There will also be less accidents on our roads hence saving on lives,” PS Kitungu observed.
Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi concurred that the refurbished line will open a new chapter in the region’s economy which he approximated to be about one trillion shillings.
“This line will not only enable us import critical products such as fuel and farm inputs, but it will also improve our capacity to export our homegrown agricultural products to intended markets on time and in an efficient way,” said the county boss during a tour of Vivo Energy depot in Nanyuki.
Cargo transport charges
Petroleum products being the key cargo for this line, Kenya Railways will be charging about Kshs 82,000 for a single 50-tonne of fuel tank with a tonne costing Kshs 1,640. Vivo Energy Kenya, which is the anchor client for commercial trains, intends to transport 15 million litres of fuel every month from Nairobi to their depot in Nanyuki.
Genesio Mugo, Vivo’s Stakeholder and Government Relations Manager, said that with the new line, Vivo Energy will now be moving 5 million litres of fuel per month with the numbers expected to rise to 15 million litres of fuel per month to serve more than 8 counties in the region.
“Our Nanyuki depot has a capacity of about 12 million litres and ferrying fuel via the railway will bridge the supply gap as only five million litres capacity was being utilised,” said Mugo.