Container handling will increase from one million to two million a year at the port of Mombasa once the standard gauge railway begins operations in June next year, says Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia.
Mr Macharia said Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP) would also grow by 1.5 per cent annually, courtesy of the new line.
“Through this project, we believe it will positively impact on transforming the port of Mombasa in terms of container movements compared to the current situation,” he said.
Mr Macharia spoke on Saturday after touring the Mombasa West railway project accompanied by the chairman of the Standing Committee of China National People’s Congress Zhang Dejiang.
Noting that Kenya is the economic powerhouse in East Africa, Mr Macharia said the new railway would open up trade and commerce along the northern corridor that serves Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.
As it stands currently, said the CS, the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday approved Phase Two B of the project from Naivasha to Kisumu from where Phase Two C — from Kisumu to Malaba border post — will be commissioned.
Speaking after touring the railway projects funded by his government at Skembo, Port Reitz on Saturday, Mr Zhang said its completion would tremendously change the country’s transport sector.
He expressed satisfaction that 90 per cent of the project was near completion and what remained was only 10 per cent, which he promised would be hastened.
“After my briefing today (Saturday), I am happy to report that 90 per cent of the work is complete and the remaining 10 per cent will be completed ahead of schedule,” he said through an interpreter.
He said the new railway would open up the entire route for economic activities and place the country on the map of rapidly developing nations in the world.
“We are happy the two countries’ bilateral relations will pay dividends from this project that will also open up the East African region when it is complete,” he said, adding that the line would boost trade and commerce.
After completing a tour of the marshalling yard under construction adjacent to the port, Mr Zhang noted that business at the port would also increase tremendously when the project is completed.