Qalaa’s Rift Valley Celebrates First New Locomotives in East Africa

Rift Valley Railways, the national rail operator of Kenya and Uganda and a unit of Egypt’s Qalaa Holdings in the East African transportation and logistics sector, celebrated the arrival of three new locomotives manufactured in the United States.
The deliveries, the latest in US$ 287 million (KES 26 billion), five-year turnaround program for RVR, are part of a program that will see the rail operator add 20 new US locomotives and six rehabilitated engines to its fleet this year.
“Qalaa Holdings and its partners in Africa Railways have so far invested more in improving RVR in the last 32 months than had been invested in the previous 30 years combined. Alongside our track record in the past two-and-a-half years, the US$ 25.3 million (KES 2.3billion) acquisition of 20 new locomotives from the United States is proof positive of our commitment to investing in RVR — of doing everything necessary to ensure it succeeds,” said Karim Sadek, Qalaa Holdings’ Managing Director for Transportation, at a ceremony held in Changamwe, Mombasa.
A senior Kenyan government official attending the event noted that RVR had been found wanting in the first three-and-a-half years of its concession before the entry of Africa Railways as lead shareholder. (Africa Railways is a vehicle for investment in the African rail sector controlled by Qalaa Holdings and leading international limited partners, including top development finance institutions).
“The Government of Kenya is committed to supporting RVR’s investment and growth goals and to provide an enabling environment that will allow railway operations in Kenya and the region to thrive,” said Eng. Michael Kamau, Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure. “Taking cognizance of the investment made and the work in progress by RVR, there are indications that this public-private partnership is turning the corner — and there are encouraging signs of bright days ahead in the railway sector which will positively impact many other sectors of the economy and society at large.”
News of the locomotives comes just weeks after Qalaa Holdings and its partners in Africa Railways recruited former Kenya Airways CEO Dr. Titus Naikuni as the new Chairman of the Board of Rift Valley Railways. Naikuni brings extensive operational, business leadership and policy formulation experience to the rail operator.