July 17, 2012

Rift Valley Railways to invest $US 62m in new wagons

Written by  Shem Oirere
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RIFT Valley Railways (RVR), the consortium operating Kenya and Uganda's railways, has announced a $US 62m investment plan to buy new wagons and to rehabilitate its existing fleet.

The investment is a major part of RVR's five-year modernisation programme and CEO Mr Brown Ondego says it will enable the railway to increase the capacity of each train to 1500 tonnes which is a major step in the plans to increase RVR's freight share from 4% to 35% by 2014.

"We will be able to run higher-capacity trains, thereby improving our loading capacity and reducing the operation's transit times," Ondego says.

Despite reporting 13% growth in 2011, RVR's bulk freight volumes fell to 1.6 million tonnes in 2011 from the 2.3 million tonnes it carried in 2007 amidst fierce competition from road freight carriers.

RVR recently secured a $US 164m loan from the African Development Bank, Equity Bank, and the World Bank's private lending arm, IFC, to revamp its operations and infrastructure with the five-year plan encompassing the rehabilitation of at least 100 locomotives, 3500 wagons and modernising the entire track infrastructure on the 2352km route.

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