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Aussies to run RVR

NAIROBI, August 8 – The Kenya-Uganda Railways concessionaire, Rift Valley Railways (RVR), has entered into a Technical Service Agreement (TSA) with PDL Toll of Australia as part of the rail firm’s ongoing service improvement program.

RVR Executive Chairman Brown Ondego said Friday that the Australian firm had been picked following a competitive headhunt by the RVR board and stakeholders. The formal contract is set to be signed later this month.

Ondego said PDL Toll, a logistics force in Asia, had been mandated to provide senior management personnel and related technical services to RVR to assist in the service improvement process.

Consequently Ondego said PDL Toll would provide certain key management executives to RVR by way of secondment, ahead of the signing of a formal technical services agreement between the two firms.

“We are positive that the TSA will give RVR the ability to leverage Toll’s considerable global logistics network and give it access to Toll’s proprietary processes and procedures, including strategic planning and risk management,” he said.

Led by the new Chief Executive Officer Kevin Whiteway, the new team from PDL Toll will include the Chief Operations Officer David Kerr, General Manager – Infrastructure Gary Camp and Chief Finance Officer Michael Field.

Ondego explained that all seconded managers had been recommended by PDL Toll and duly interviewed and selected by the Board of directors together with the Steering Committee, and found to be suitable to the tasks.

Besides the personnel element, Ondego noted that RVR will now have access to PDL Toll’s back office support including finance, risk and training expertise.

“RVR will through PDL Toll’s goodwill also manage to cost effectively enjoy Toll’s purchasing power for cost items such as fuel, insurance, locomotive and rolling stock spare parts,” Ondego said.

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PDL Toll is a provider of integrated logistics support and a specialist in supporting government and commercial organisations operating in difficult and isolated environments.

Historically, its focus has been on the defence industry. However, PDL Toll has diversified into other markets and now caters for all organisations operating in remote locations including international aid organisations, large construction companies and the mining, oil and gas industries.

This announcement comes on a week when the concessionaire’s management has seen a change of guard, due to pressure occasioned by three years of poor performance.

Meanwhile, Ondego clarified that the outgoing Managing Director Roy Puffett had not been sacked, as claimed in media reports, and explained that the immediate former RVR boss simply stood down from active management of the firm.

Puffett, Ondego pointed out, still retains his shareholding and directorship at RVR.

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