Kenya on Tuesday launched the Nairobi-Naivasha Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) cargo service and an inland container depot (ICD) expected to revolutionise the transportation of bulk cargo through the country and across the East African region.

The launch ceremony was graced by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Chinese State Councillor Wang Yong.

“Today, we mark the commencement of the freight train services to the Naivasha Inland Container Depot; thus making an unequivocal statement that we as a people are ready to ascend,” President Kenyatta said.

The commencement of freight services comes two months after the SGR passenger service between Nairobi and Naicasha was launched.

The railway is an extension of the Chinese-built SGR linking the port city of Mombasa to the capital

“We equally remain hopeful that other economic and commercial ventures will be established along the line, which together will trigger the creation of productive employment, and in the process reduce poverty and inequality across the whole country,” said Kenyatta.

On his part, Chinese State Councillor Wang Yong, also the special envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping, congratulated Kenya for the launch of the new freight transport service.

Wang said that the launch of the Nairobi-Naivasha SGR services marked another milestone in the history of railway construction in Kenya and Africa in general.

He also noted that the line is another major achievement of the China-Kenya and China-Africa cooperation on the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI).

“We will continue to promote Sino-Kenyan Cooperation such as facility connectivity within the framework of BRI to build a closer China-Africa community of shared destiny,” Wang said.