Chinese-built Kenyan railway marks 1,000 days of safe operation

THE Chinese-built Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) has seen its 1,000 days of seamless operations defined by a high degree of safety, efficiency and responsiveness to customer needs.
A ceremony celebrating 1,000 days of its safe operations alongside a presentation of awards to winners of railway technical skills competition was held in Nairobi railway station on Tuesday afternoon.
Li Jiuping, general manager of SGR Operator, Africa Star Railway Operation Company Limited (Afristar), said ‘as of 6 p.m. February 24, we have achieved safe operation for 1,000 days, cumulatively operating 13,000 trains, covering a total distance of 6.368 million kilometres without any liability safety accident.’
According to Li, Kenya’s SGR passenger train had transported 4.17 million passengers, while its freight counterpart had ferried 771,000 TEUs of bulk cargo.
‘We firmly believe safety is the bottom-line in railway operation. This is achieved by enhancing the safety management system, establishing a safety and supervision team to constantly oversee safety matters, and promoting public security capacity,’ he added.
The SGR technical skills report, released on the ceremony, indicates that localisation of Kenya’s SGR operations nears 80 percent, which has been achieved through technical skills transfer in 123 railway specialities.
‘Our Kenyan staff have acquired skills and knowledge from expatriates they are working with, in addition to training in China,’ said Sammy Gachuhi, deputy general manager of SGR Afristar, adding that Kenyan staff have taken up managerial positions as well and in the near future they will be capable of handling the task with ease.
According to the report, 1,072 Kenyan employees are capable of independently performing their duties, and 252 Kenyans work in leadership positions. A total of 29 junior locomotive drivers now work without supervision.
By December 31, 2019, Afristar had implemented 267 rules and regulations and conducted 269 safety inspection exercises along the 480-kilometre track from the port city of Mombasa to Nairobi.
The Mombasa-Nairobi SGR, which replaces the meter-gauge railway that was constructed more than 100 years ago during the British colonial rule, has been an important fruit that came out of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Summit held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in late 2015.

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