The number of standard gauge railway (SGR) freight trains on the Mombasa-Nairobi route are set to increase to seven daily by Friday setting the stage for stiff competition with road transporters.
Transport Principal Secretary Paul Maringa said six trains carrying 654 containers were leaving Mombasa daily to the inland container depot in Nairobi.
However, by tomorrow seven trains will be leaving the port ferrying some 752 containers. Some 1,300 containers arrive at the port daily. Although one cargo train has the capacity to remove 150 trucks from the roads daily, some 3,000 trucks still ferry cargo on the Mombasa-Nairobi route daily.
Prof Maringa said that only goods destined for Nairobi were being ferried. He urged road transporters to focus on the last mile, saying it was for the good of the country for the SGR to succeed.
He said some 2,300 containers that had been cleared were awaiting collection by owners resulting in congestion. He said plans were underway to ensure that goods were collected within six hours after being cleared and those that overstay attract heavy charges. Prof Maringa said 1,000 cargo tracking devices were being used to speed up cargo offloading and that the equipment will be increased to 3,000.
The devices are a fixed on containers and have to be returned to Mombasa after goods reach Nairobi.
The tracking enable monitoring of the goods through computers or mobile phones.