Govt holds workshop on high-speed railway project
03 October 2014, 07:43
Nairobi - A workshop on the 609-kilometer Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Mombasa to Nairobi was held on Thursday.
The Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Nduva Muli said the resettlement plan for those on the railway path will be concluded in two weeks time.
"The government has already paid the contractor 67 million U.S. dollars," Muli said.
The move comes after China Road and Bridge Corporation announced it has recruited some 2,464 Kenyans for the initial work of the construction expected to make the movement of goods easier across the country.
Assistant President of China Communications and Construction Company Wen Gang said in Nairobi in August that his company will impart skills and transfer technology to the locals so as to help the country in the manufacture of components for the SGR project locally.
"We will continue recruiting local people to impart skills and also ensure transfer of technology," he said in Nairobi when he held talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.
Wen added that at the peak of the project over 30,000 locals would be employed directly while 40 percent of the work would be sub-contracted to local companies.
The 3.6-billion-dollar project is aimed at providing efficient and cost effective rail transport for both freight and passengers. It is intended to reduce the cost of doing business by reducing the cost of transport, a move that will see Kenya become a competitive business hub for the East African region and beyond.
Passenger trains will have a speed of 120 kilometers per hour while those for freight will be designed to move at 80 kilometers an hour. Kenya Railways Managing Director Atanas Maina said the current railway line handles average speeds of 22 km per hour.
It will take passengers four hours and 30 minutes to travel from Mombasa to Nairobi while freight will take eight hours.
Early this year, Kenya signed a SGR financing agreement with the Exim Bank of China, which will provide 3.3 billion dollars, 90 percent of the estimated cost.
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The Kenyan government will finance the rest through the Railway Development Levy Fund. The Muli said Kenya has fulfilled all the conditions for disbursement of the Chinese funding.
"Construction will begin at 87 different locations simultaneously. When complete, the railway is expected to carry at least 40 percent of all cargo from the port of Mombasa," SGR Project Coordinator Maxwell Mengich said.
"It will contribute to annual GDP growth of at least 1.5 percent during construction and operational phases," he added.
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