East Africa’s Rift Valley Railways, operator of the only rail line linking Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast with Uganda, said on Wednesday it had funding of 2.2 billion Kenyan shillings ($24.80 million) to buy 20 locomotives to be delivered by next April.
Rift Valley Railways (RVR) is expected to face competition from a new railway being built with Chinese financing from the port city of Mombasa to the Ugandan border that is due to be completed in the coming years.
RVR said it had a loan of 1.8 billion shillings from South Africa’s Standard Bank and its Kenyan unit, CFC Stanbic. RVR will provide the remainder of the funds.
It said it had already received three locomotives, built by General Electric.
“When added to locomotives being rehabilitated in the rail operator’s Nairobi workshop, the trains will double RVR’s mainline locomotive fleet, substantially increasing its freight haulage capacity in Kenya and Uganda,” RVR said.
Rail transport in Kenya accounts for only 1 million tonnes of the 20 million tonnes of cargo that passes through the port of Mombasa to the region every year.
RVR added it was also refurbishing wagons in Nairobi and Kampala and by the time this was complete in June, its fleet would have more than doubled to 2,400 from the present number.
Egypt’s Qalaa Holdings (CCAP, Formerly Citadel Capital) (CCAP.CA on EGX) owns 85 percent of RVR. Uganda’s Bomi Holdings owns the rest.