Kenya Railways begins SGR takeover from Chinese company

March, 05, 2021 The Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC), has begun a takeover of operations on the standard gauge railway, from Africa Star Railway Operation Company (AfriStar), amid concerns of high costs of keeping trains moving.

KRC chairman Omudho Awitta said the firm had already assumed ticketing, security and fuelling functions on the SGR passenger and cargo trains as part of a deal to fully run operations on the Chinese funded and built track by May 2022.

“KRC has not terminated its contract with Africa Star Railway Operation Company (AfriStar). We have negotiated so that we take over the running of the standard gauge railway (SGR),” said Mr Awitta.

“The contract between the two parties was to run for 10 years from 2017 with provision clause for review in the fifth year.”

KRC had in 2017 contracted AfriStar to manage SGR operations and carryout functions such as managing the ticketing system and any associated software and hardware. The Kenyan government in 2020, however reached a deal with AfriStar to take over operations and maintenance by May 2022.

“From March 1, 2021 KRC has taken over all staff working on ticketing function,” Mr Awitta said.

The cost of operating the SGR has been a concern with data by the Transport ministry showing that taxpayers spend an average of Sh1 billion per month on the operations of the Mombasa-Nairobi railway alone.

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