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Chinese firm's Kenya railway on track

2015-02-09 10:29 Xinhua Web Editor: Qin Dexing

A Chinese construction firm said it was making steady progress in the construction of the standard gauge railway (SGR) in Kenya.

The first phase of SGR will see the railway built from Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa to the capital Nairobi. China Road and Bridge Corp said it has done all the crucial groundwork along the railway route, including land clearing, staff recruitment, bringing in required equipment and putting in place the foundation for the railway.

"We have made sufficient preparations for the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR Project in aspects of organization structure, personnel mobilization and supply of machinery, equipment and materials. Everything has been put in place," Julius Li, manager of Liaison Department with CRBC Kenya, said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

So far, he said CRBC has put up 21 campsites along the railway route, each of which will oversee the construction of specific segments of the SGR. Li said the campsites will decentralize management of construction works and are in turn expected to provide effective and efficient management compared with overseeing construction from a central place.

According to Li, CRBC has also built 12 concrete mixing plants, with plans to increase this to 17 plants at different points along the railway. There are 12 laboratories along the railway route that have started testing samples of different materials, including soil and cement that will be used for construction of the railway.

China has agreed to fund the first phase of the SGR line linking Mombasa to Uganda, Burundi and South Sudan. China Exim Bank will fund 90 percent of the US$3.8 billion project that will cover 480 kilometers from Mombasa to Nairobi.

Li said the Chinese company had recruited some 8,000 Kenyans by last month to work at the different campsites along the railway, and plans to hire about 30,000 workers in the coming months as construction progresses.

Li also said the plant for manufacturing sleepers provide job opportunities and train large numbers of Kenyan employees during construction of the railway. "Even after the railway is complete, the plant will continue to be operational and offer jobs for locals."

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