Toll Holdings going to Africa

Patrick Defense Logistics takes control of the lunatic express that runs from Mombasa to Kampala

By Samantha Freestone

Toll Holdings subsidiary Patrick Defense Logistics will manage a rail line that runs from Mombasa to Kampala via Nairobi in a confidential deal that may lead to Toll growing the rail company’s business.

Managing director Paul Little confirmed Toll was offered an equity stake in the company Rift Valley Railways, but decided to decline.

"Originally we were offered an opportunity to acquire equity in the entity that owns the 25 year freight concession within Kenya," he says.

Toll was then offered the management deal until 2030, which was accepted about two months ago.

"We have chosen at this stage to stay on as managers. In the future their vision is that they believe they could run a number of trains out of Mombasa," Little says.

Toll intends on growing the rail’s market share from 7 to 40 percent.

The rail line is known as the lunatic express after its dangerous construction in the 1800s and more recently because of the under-performing South African-based Sheltam Rail Corp, which took control of the railway in 2006.

But Little was cautious when discussing Toll’s future with the railway.

"Upgrading of the rail network would be necessary," he says.

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