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Kenya Railways, French firm ink SGR cargo deal

Nairobi. Kenya Railways (KR) has inked a contract with a French container transportation and shipping company seeking to grow cargo volumes for the standard gauge railway (SGR) line. The year-long deal follows a meeting between the state agency’s top officials led by KR’s Managing Director Mr Atanas Maina and the CMA-CGM team led by its East Africa boss Thierry Bidau.

Under the agreement, CMA-CGM will directly nominate huge volumes of cargo to the Inland Container Depot, Nairobi via the standard gauge railway. CMA-CGM is also expected to influence the choice of other players yet to embrace the Madaraka Freight Service. CMA-CGM is the third largest shipping firm globally, going by the number of 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) handled, operating a fleet of 504 vessels that call at 420 ports in 160 countries.

Mr Maina was accompanied by Business and Commercial Expert on Freight Team Leader James Siele, Business and Commercial Expert on Freight Sammy Gachuhi and the Business Development Manager Milly Omido. The deal is among a raft of measures taken by KR to woo shipping lines and cargo importers to use the Madaraka Freight Service to transport cargo at subsidised fees. “It is a remarkable milestone for the corporation as it is the first one involving a shipping line.

Previously, contracts have been between Kenya Railways and freight forwarders including one between KR and Cargo Care International that was signed in early this year,” said Mr Maina. While freight forwarders simply act as the link between shipping lines and shippers, shipping lines have greater influence on the cargo industry due to the massive scale of their operations which are also borderless. Shipping lines own and operate vessels and deal with the cargo right from the actual point of origin and thus, according them, are well placed to influence key logistical decisions made by major customers in the industry.

The year-long contract is expected to greatly increase traffic on the Madaraka Freight Service.

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