The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) revenue has increased to Ksh. 15.2 billion from passenger and freight services in 2021. The increase in revenue has been attributed to increased demand.

An Economic Survey conducted by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) indicates that in 2021, SGR reported a 24% increase in revenue which rose to Ksh. 15.2 billion from Ksh. 10.5 billion in 2020. Freight services raised Ksh. 13 billion while passenger revenue stood at Ksh. 2.2 billion.

The revenue is still not sufficient to meet the operational costs of the SGR which is estimated at Ksh. 1.5 billion a month or Ksh. 18 billion a year.

SGR operates express passenger trains from Nairobi to Mombasa and an intercounty service with stops in Athi River, Emali, Kibwezi, Mtito Andei, Voi, Miasenyi, and Mariakani stations.

KNBS attributed the rise in revenue recorded by the SGR to increased cargo demand which saw the new line introduced in 2017 haul 5,407 tonnes of cargo last year from 4,411 thousand tonnes in 2020, a 22.6% increase

“The increase in tonnage and revenue was partly attributed to the full utilization of the expanded Nairobi Inland Container Deport (ICD), re-introduction of double stack and long freight trains. In addition, enhanced collaboration between Kenya Railways and other agencies resulted in expeditious processing and evacuation of cargo,” KNBS in their Economic Survey.

Similarly, earnings from passenger services on Madaraka Express also doubled to Kshs. 2.2 billion last year from Ksh. 896 million owed to increase in demand for travel between Nairobi and Mombasa following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions on public transport and introduction of night travel.

“The upsurge was mainly attributed to easing of COVID-19 containment measures in the country, continued revamping of Nairobi Commuter Rail (NCR) services through the full operationalization of 11 Diesel Multiple Units (DMU) and the introduction of new routes to Limuru and Lukenya. The re-introduction of the Nairobi – Kisumu Safari Train in December 2021 partly contributed to improved revenue in the MGR passenger service,”

Recently, the key Meter Gauge Railway (MGR) lines were rehabilitated. As a result, revenue earned from passenger services more than doubled to Ksh. 234 million last year from Ksh.. 83 million in 2020 while revenue from cargo transported on the MGR rose marginally from Ksh. 1.1 billion in 2020 to Ksh. 1.1 billion in 2021.

The rise in SGR freight revenue increased by 1.2% from 34.1 million metric tonnes recorded in 2020 to 34.5 million metric tonnes in 2021. Overall, the total value of output from the transport and storage sector rose by 16.7% to Kshs. 2.2 trillion in 2021.

Earlier this year, Kenya Railways has conducted its first trial freight train on the newly constructed link connecting the Standard Gauge Railway and Meter Gauge Railway in Naivasha. The cargo destined for Malaba was loaded at the Mombasa port and transported via the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), where it was then transshipped onto the Metre Gauge Railway (MGR) line at the Naivasha Inland Container Depot (NICD).