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China rejects allegations of any discrimination at Kenyan SGR | Coastweek

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Managing Director of Kenya Railways Corporation Atanas Maina [center] delivers a speech at a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) passenger train service in Nairobi on May 31, 2018. Kenya marked the first anniversary since the launch of the Standard Gauge Railway passenger train service amid smooth operations that has endeared it to regular travelers, entrepreneurs and tourists. XINHUA PHOTO - WANG TENG

China rejects allegations of any discrimination at Kenyan SGR

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Chinese envoy to Kenya on Friday rejected allegations that the operators of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) discriminated against local employees.

Sun Baohong, the Chinese ambassador to Kenya, told journalists in Nairobi that the only challenge that exists is a cultural and communication barrier between Chinese and local employees.

She said China is committed to helping Kenya successfully operate the SGR by improving the capacity of locals.

The Chinese envoy called for objective reporting by the media to ensure that facts are known by the public.

The operators of the SGR have sent Kenyan engineers and police officers to China to learn the latest in railway management.

Sun said that the SGR will not only help transform the economy of Kenya but that of the east African region as a whole.

"It will also help to improve logistics and provide convenience for travelers through the region," she added.

Sun said China will continue with its financing cooperation with Africa in order to help bridge the continent’s infrastructure funding gaps.

She denied that Chinese loans will result in a debt trap for Africa as the funds have been used for vital infrastructure such as roads, railways and hospitals.

Before China became a major financier in Africa, she said, the continent had already had a huge public debt.

Sun also urged Kenya to improve its business climate to attract more foreign direct investments.

She said Chinese firms are eager to invest in Kenya to help the country pursue its "Big Four" agenda of affordable housing, food security, manufacturing, and universal healthcare.


New report credits Kenya SGR with boosting domestic tourism

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Chinese-built Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) has boosted domestic tourism in Kenya, a pan-African online travel agency has said.

Cyrus Onyiego, Country Manager for Jumia Travel Kenya, told a media briefing in Nairobi that the railway line passes through several tourists destinations along the Nairobi-Mombasa route that were previously inaccessible for domestic tourism.

"The convenience of the SGR has made it easier for Kenyans to access wildlife sites along the Nairobi-Mombasa railway as well as the city of Mombasa for recreation purposes," Onyiego said.

"Travel by train is safer as compared to traveling on the roads and this has played a huge impact on the domestic tourism sector," he said during the release of the Hospitality Report Kenya 2018.

The report delves into the country’s travel, tourism, and hospitality ecosystem, looks at the sector’s contribution to Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP), as well as technology trends shaping the hospitality sector.

According to the report, Mombasa received 24 percent of all domestic tourists in 2017, up from 16 percent in the previous year largely due to the operationalization of the SGR passenger service between Nairobi and Mombasa.

The report indicates that the hospitality sector has taken advantage of the SGR to market travel packages to domestic and foreign tourists.

The survey shows that some of the key economic drivers in 2017 were enhanced security in the country and infrastructural developments like SGR.

The findings also show that domestic tourism expenditure grew about 16 percent in 2017 compared to 2016, with Kenyans taking up approximately 4 million bed nights in 2017, up from 3.5 million in 2016.

Kenya Standard Gauge Railway freight service set to expand cargo range

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR)’s freight service is set to expand its range of cargo for transportation to increase volumes transported once the Port Relief line completes construction, an official has said.

Atanas Maina, managing director of Kenya Railways, said Port Relief line will allow the freight trains to access Berth No.1 and enable uptake of bulk cargo for transportation to the Inland Container Depot in Nairobi.

"We expect to complete construction of the Port Relief line by September.

"This will enhance our operations and allow us to also transport bulk cargo since the trains will be loaded at Berth No. 1.

"This will increase the volume of cargo we transport and enhance our operations on the service," Maina said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

He said the SGR freight service dubbed Madaraka Express Freight Service is offering seven freight trains a day.

The service that has performed smoothly over the past six months has transported over 800,000 tonnes with the bulk of the cargo being transported from Mombasa to Nairobi.

Maina said Kenya Railways and China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) that operate the passenger and freight service recently approved the Dangerous Goods Transportation Regulations for SGR operations, paving way for haulage of dangerous cargo from the Port of Mombasa to the Inland Container Depot Nairobi (ICDN).

The regulations spell out safety, security, transportation management and other requirements for consignment and operation for dangerous goods.

According to the regulations, dangerous cargo in containers or tank containers can now be safely and conveniently transported on the Madaraka Express Freight Service.

The statement came as the Madaraka Express Freight Service transported its first consignment of temperature-sensitive cargo recently.

The cargo was transported in the refrigerated container (reefer) from Mombasa to Nairobi.

"The reefer is a specialized wagon designed for transportation of delicate cargo normally categorized as dangerous cargo which includes flowers, meat products, milk, chocolates and fuel," said Maina.

"We have not had such a service on offer on the Metre Gauge Railway line operations but the Standard Gauge Railway rolling stock accords us the comfort of offering a wide variety of options for the freight customers which match the standards you find in the developed world," he said.

China rejects allegations of any discrimination at Kenyan SGR | Coastweek

MOMBASA (Xinhua) -- A new passeger train arrives at Mombasa station as it carries out a test run on Kenya's Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR). XINHUA PHOTO - CHEN CHENG



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