| Code: 80014 |

TIN news:    Kenya Railways has allayed fears that the Standard Gauge Railway will push truck owners out of business and render thousands of drivers jobless.
There has been talk 80 per cent of cargo from the Port of Mombasa will be reserved for the SGR so that the project remains viable.
On Sunday however Kenya Railways Managing Director Atanas Maina said the highest cargo preference the parastatal could enjoy was 50 per cent.
“Last year 24 million tonnes of cargo passed through the port and is projected to reach 26 million tonnes this year increasing to over 30 million tonnes in 2025. If the SGR takes about 50 per cent, there will still be business for local transporters,” he said.
“The project is of national and regional strategic importance and as the implementing agency we are keen and actively engaged to ensure it is completed on time and as per contractual specifications,” he said.
The Parliamentary Committee on Transport, Public Works and Housing said the railway is more than 65 per cent complete.
Committee Chairman Maina Kamanda said that after travelling from Nairobi to Mombasa on an inspection tour of the line, they were satisfied that the contractor would finish the work by June next year as agreed.
“We are impressed by the progress; several sections along the line have started taking shape from the actual track to the sub-stations along the 472 kilometre SGR line,” he said.
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The two were addressing journalists near the Kenya Ports Authority second container terminal where the railway begins.
Mr Kamanda said they also inspected the level of expertise and were convinced that the contractor was doing a good job.
“We assure Kenyans that the project is in good hands and our professionals working on the SGR will gain in terms of technology transfer,” he said.
They were accompanied by other members of the committee including MPs Christopher Omulele (Lwanda), Grace Kipchoim (Baringo South) and Omar Mwinyi (Changamwe).
The team visited Athi River, Kyulu, Simba and Tsavo, which are among the 24 stations along the line.
Mr Kamanda said that the contractor was now sourcing materials locally including cement and steel.
Mr Mwinyi assured residents of Skembo village who have not been compensated of payment.
“The government has assured me that every person affected by this project will be compensated,” he said.
Once complete, the SGR will connect Mombasa to Malaba at the Kenya/Uganda border and onwards to Kigali, Rwanda.

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