Driving To Deliver Your Business

Uhuru bets big on road transport with fresh poll pledges

Corporate[1]

Tuesday, June 27, 2017 18:58

By GEORGE OMONDI

Standard gauge railway Nairobi terminus. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG Standard gauge railway Nairobi terminus. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG

President Uhuru Kenyatta is neither anticipating the death of commuter bus service nor truck cargo haulage.

In his re-election manifesto, Mr Kenyatta is promising to expand the Mombasa-Nairobi highway into a six-lane corridor. The Jubilee manifesto states: “In the next five years, we will construct the Mombasa-Nairobi six-lane highway toll road which together with the SGR (standard gauge railway) will transform the 450 kilometres between the two cities into one large and vibrant economic zone.” That implies a robust road transport alongside an efficient rail transport.

A six-lane corridor assigns specific lanes to private cars, buses and trucks. In other words, the Jubilee administration is imagining an integrated system where speed, convenience, and cost interact to determine the choice of transport means, whether by train, bus, private car or truck. As previously marketed, an efficient train was supposed to get most of the trucks and buses out of the route.

Buses and trucks have thrived due to the inefficiency of the metre-gauge trains that take nearly 10 hours to cover the 450-kilometre journey. So far, the SGR train has lived up to its promise on speed, convenience and price compared to trucks and buses. But it has failed the environment test after trains turned out to be diesel locomotives as opposed to electric ones previously promised

Going by its manifesto, the Jubilee administration advisers do not appear to share the view of a number of market watchers who argue that road transport operators should relocate to areas that have not been reached by the SGR. President Kenyatta is promising to complete Nairobi-Naivasha SGR in the next five years adding that by 2022, Kenya will have an integrated transport network. According to the manifesto, the system will link production centres in the Northern Corridor, the Central Corridor and the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor with affordable transport, logistics, energy and utility systems.

Before that, the President has set himself an immediate task of constructing a rail link from Lamu to Miritini and a road from Lamu to Isiolo.

He has also pledged to complete the development of the remaining 29 berths in Lamu port.

References

  1. ^ Corporate (www.businessdailyafrica.com)



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