• Thu. Jan 21st, 2021
railway importance

Railways are of significant to the economy, people, and also in the growth. The heavy weight of trucks has been a contributor to the wear and tear of roads across the country. This is considering that 95% of all cargo moves by road with over 1600 heavy load trucks plying on the same route.

This means roads are in constant need of maintenance at exorbitant costs. With SGR set to take over, freight haul trucks will be phased out of the roads thus enhancing their longevity.

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The effects of SGR on the economy during and after development are numerous. Also they are gleaming symbols of progress towards achievement of vision 2030 goals.

. In its first year of operation June 2018, it has suffered a loss of Sh10 billion. This is according to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure. The magnitude of losses raises anxiety about the viability. This is for the first railway transport infrastructure that Kenya developed in a century. Which was funding from the Chinese, who are also the operators.

While operational losses are not entirely unexpected in the short term. Therefore there’s a great sense of urgency to understand how long it will take for the SGR to break even. A cost-benefit analysis of major railway systems tends to lead to the same results. Even the most advanced railways have a difficult time returning profits.

  • Freight containers

The Eurostar, the spectacular high-speed train that links the United Kingdom to France and Belgium through the Channel Tunnel; the Japanese Shinkansen, or bullet trains; Also the Chinese high-speed rail operators have a long history of crippling operational losses and debts. The government support ensured their survival.

In just a year, SGR’s Madaraka Express passenger service ferried 1.3 million passengers. This is 4,000 passengers per day between Nairobi and Mombasa. That’s equivalent to more than 60 passenger buses in a day.

Railways Importance

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Moreover, the SGR’s freight trains hauled 25,000 twenty-foot equivalent (TEU) units of cargo in six months. This is since the service was launched in January this year. This implies that it displaced 140 trucks with a capacity of 120-ft container or 70 trucks with 40-ft container capacity.

  • Reliable

While the SGR hasn’t achieved financial viability, it has made considerable social and economic impact. That includes transferring people and goods faster between Mombasa and Nairobi; cutting environmental pollution and risks; reducing damage to transport infrastructure; and improving safety. Road traffic accidents, a regular occurrence on the Northern Corridor and other major road transport routes, have decreased.

The speed of delivery is a key advantage of railway over road or air transport. Madaraka Express covers the 472-kilometre distance between Nairobi and Mombasa in just over four hours. This means cruising at a maximum speed of 120 kilometres per hour (kph). It is regular and more reliable than buses. This means it take nearly twice the time due to long traffic jams and unpredictable disruptions. The freight service takes slightly longer but still covers the trip in half the time for trucks.

  • Transformation

The Eurostar and Shinkansen, cruises at a speed of over 300 kph. This have built their reputation on getting passengers faster to their destinations. This is more than aircraft flying at 900 kph ground speed equivalent. The bullet train from Tokyo to Osaka is likely to arrive 30 minutes. Therefore it arrives earlier than a flight between the two cities. This is when time for security and immigration checks, delays and road transfers is factored in.

The Eurostar, with 18 trains a day, claims that it’s faster than flying. Therefore it offers ample, comfortable space for working during the train ride than flying. The SGR has strong potential as a strategic instrument of social and economic transformation.

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Other Benefits

  • Job creation

Top on the list of positive effects of the SGR project to the economy is job creation.

Individuals employed in the construction sector are 2,285 staff from diverse professional backgrounds. All are working at the 33 stations and in the passenger and cargo rolling stock. The project has generated numerous for railways operations.

  • Railways

Furthermore, there is indirect job creation through entrepreneurship opportunities posed by the need for goods and services. This is by SGR employees and passengers including catering, and entertainment among many others. Spending by these employees is set to create ‘income effects’ on the economy.

  • Growth of Urbanization

The arrival of the lunatic express resulted in the mushrooming of urban centers. This is a major impact of the SGR on the Kenyan economy to the emergence of trading centers. This has emerged to at all its 33 stations as well as the reinvigoration of economic activities in already existent towns.

The emergence of these centers will boost growth in its key sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and financial services.

More Benefits

  • Improvement of Tourism Sectors

Tourism is a major contributor to the country’s GDP and the fruition of the SGR. It could not be more opportune, coming at a time when international arrivals have dwindled due to security concerns.

Coast region is the most popular destination for local tourists. Also it has challenges associated with road travel. This has been a major hindrance to the realisation of full domestic tourism potential.

The entry of a low cost, comfortable, fast and safe mode of transport to Mombasa coupled with the breathtaking scenery along its route. This is especially the stretch that traverses the Tsavo National Park. This is a home to a wide variety of wild animals. This has boosted the number of domestic and international tourists visiting the region.

  • Improvement Of regional Trade

Kenya neighbours three landlocked countries that is Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. It is fast in clearance at the Mombasa port, reduced transport cost, faster delivery of goods will make the country the preferred entry point and export route for these nations thus positively affecting the economy.

  • Reduction of road maintenance cost because of railways

The heavy weight of trucks has been a major contributor to the wear and tear of roads across the country especially considering that 95% of all cargo moves by road with over 1600 heavy load trucks plying the Mombasa-Malaba route.

This means roads are in constant need of maintenance at exorbitant costs. With SGR set to take over, freight haul trucks will be phased out of the roads thus enhancing their longevity.

Effects of SGR on the economy during and after development are numerous. Also it is a gleaming symbol of progress towards achievement of vision 2030 goals.