NAIROBI - The World Food Programme signed a US$1.3 million agreement with the Kenya Railways Corp. today that will enable WFP to deliver food aid faster and more cheaply to the Great Lakes region.
Under the agreement, signed by WFP's Regional Manager for the Horn of Africa and Country Director for Kenya, Mike Sackett, and Eric Nyamunga, Managing Director of the railways, WFP will provide parts to refurbish 10 locomotives on the Mombasa-Kampala line.
The increased rail capacity will allow WFP to load food shipments directly onto freight cars at the port of Mombasa, saving almost US$7,000 a day in warehousing costs.
WFP moves 9,000 metric tons of food aid a month -- enough to feed 850,000 people for the month -- from Mombasa to the main dispatch point in Kampala.
Turnaround of freight cars now will be improved by five days.
The Mombasa line to Uganda is one of two links for transporting food to WFP relief projects in the Great Lakes region. WFP, which is one of Kenya Railways' largest client, moved a total of 110,000 metric tons of food on the line during 1997.
"This route is a lifeline for the Great Lakes region," Russell Ulrey, WFP Regional Logistics Officer, said. "The project will enable WFP to deliver more food aid, faster and at lower cost to the people who need it most."
To ensure efficient operations, WFP will assign a team of rail monitors to check on rail movements and freight car turnaround.
WFP also has an agreement with the Tanzanian Railway Corp. under which it has provided locomotives from South Africa, spare parts and technical assistance. It is discussing a similar agreement with the Uganda Railway.
"Cooperation and understanding between government, business and UN agencies is essential for the cost-effective delivery of relief aid," Ulrey said.
WFP previously carried out a number of multi-million dollar railway projects in southern Africa and the Caucases to improve the efficiency of its food aid operations.
For further information, please contact:
Mike Sackett Russell Ulrey
Regional Manager HOA, Regional Logistics Officer,
Tel. +254-2 622-049 Tel. +254-2 622-041
Information Officer, WFP/Nairobi
Tel. +254-2 622-336
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