Rift Valley Railways, the concessioner operating the narrow-gauge rail systems of Kenya and Uganda on behalf of the two national rail companies, has now confirmed that outgoing CEO Carlos de Andrade will be succeeded by Mr. Isiah Otieno Okoth at the beginning of April. Okoth’s appointment was made public by RVR’s Board Chairman, Mr. Titus Naikuni, who on the occasion said: “As a board, we have the fullest confidence in him and believe he has the skills and experience to take RVR to the next level. The past five years have been challenging for everyone involved in the concession because of the sorry state the railway was in. However, given the investments made and progress registered, we believe RVR has finally turned the corner; the appointment of a new CEO is a very clear sign of this, and we anticipate exponential growth under his leadership.”
Mr. Okoth’s appointment comes at a time when RVR has reached a crucial stage of its development after concluding a five-year investment and transformation program, which has seen the company more than double its locomotive and wagon-carrying capacity. In addition, RVR rehabilitated key sections of the rail infrastructure which were the most delay-prone stretches in the past and introduced modern rail and cargo management and tracking systems. Importation of new locomotives manufactured by General Electric in the United States and both importation of new and refurbishment of existing rolling stock has helped to increase carrying capacity on the rail line through longer trains and increased frequencies.
As a result, the company has improved on its reliability, efficiency, and turn-around times. Significant cuts in delivery times of cargo from the port of Mombasa to Nairobi and Kampala impressed the market, helped to restore confidence, and most important brought customers of bulk cargo back to using the rail instead of expensive road transport.