Rift Valley Railways (RVR) has increased its haulage capacity after the company received new heavy duty railway wagons from Chinese rolling stock maker CNR Corporation. The first 120 of an eventual 480 wagons arrived in Mombasa, positioning the operator for a 50 per cent increase in capacity.
Each of the wagons has a carrying capacity of 60 tons per trip against the current stock which is limited to a 40 ton load per wagon. The wagons purchased at KES5.41m, will increase RVR fleet size. The rail transport currently accounts for less than five per cent of cargo transported from the port of Mombasa.
Recently, RVR received 20 GE locomotives that have been put to service together with the new wagons in a bid to increase volume of business. This will later allow the Kenya–Uganda railway concessionaire to fully utilize the newly opened inland container port in Mukono which has the capacity to handle 1,644 units at any time and 36,500 containers a year which is expected to play a major role in business growth.
As at January 2015, RVR had moved over 1.8 million Net Ton Kilometers (NTK) of freight against a target of 1.7 million by 31st March in Kenya. The corresponding figures for Uganda were 250 million NTK of freight moved as at 25th February. RVR is currently at the midpoint of a KES25 billion capital expenditure programme that began in January 2012 to revitalize the railway. The programme represents the single biggest capital investment in rail in the entire East African Community in the past 30 years. It also involves restoring infrastructure by employing new technologies and critical skills development of its 2,400 strong workforce.
In 2014, the company completed the rehabilitation of the most damaged sections of the railway track between Mombasa and Nairobi and reopened the 500 kilometer railway line running from Tororo to Gulu in northern Uganda after a 20-year hiatus.RVR claims that installation of satellite tracking and GPS-based technology on all trains has helped save 6 hours off cargo transit times between Mombasa and Nairobi.