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Rift Valley Railways in Uganda hires local firm for repair works


Ugandan engineering firm Multiplex Ltd has secured a Sh406.7 million tender from Rift Valley Railways (RVR) to repair nine culverts between Tororo and Jinja.

The infrastructure rehabilitation projects are earmarked under the company’s five-year capital expenditure programme at a cost of Sh24.4 billion ($287 million).

The repair of the railway is expected to ease efficiency in transportation of commodities with the knock-on effect of reducing the cost per unit.

“Once completed the reliability of our operations will improve significantly as we will be able to operate bigger capacity trains, thereby improving our loading capacity and reducing transit times into Uganda,” said group chief executive Brown Ondego. “This marks a historic milestone for the rehabilitation of the Kenya-Uganda railway.”

Multiplex managing director Moses Bbosa said that an assessment of the repair requirements had been completed and that the works would begin immediately.

The funding of the projects is being drawn from Sh4.2 billion ($49 million) the Kenya-Uganda railway operator has received from its shareholders.

Necessary attention

Other projects to be undertaken include the replacement of 70 kilometres of the railway line along the Mombasa-Nairobi section.

“We recognise the importance of this contract to the East African Community and will give it the necessary attention to ensure we complete the project within the agreed time frame,” said Mr Bbosa.

Work on the replacement of the nine culverts between Tororo and Jinja is scheduled to start in the next three weeks and last a maximum of three months.

Early last month, Rift Valley Railways disclosed that it would bid to operate a new railway service that planned for Nairobi metropolitan to ease congestion and boost transport efficiency.

The Sh400 billion multi-modal infrastructure project around the city known as the Nairobi Metropolitan Mass Rapid Transport System is meant curb traffic jams that cost the economy a fortune due to a lot time wasted on congested roads.

The initiative will entail construction of a 167 kilometre public road and rail transport grid that will link the city centre with key neighbouring towns including; Kikuyu, Thika, Ruiru, Athi River, Kitengela, Machakos, Limuru, and Kajiado.

Kenya-Uganda railway line concessionaire is 34 per cent owned by TransCentury, 51 per cent by Cairo-based private equity firm Citadel Capital with Uganda’s Bomi Holdings owning 15 per cent.

RVR’s shareholders are betting on the ability to secure huge infrastructural projects being implemented in the region to shore up their earnings.

By Mugambi Mutegi

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