January 2019: After only five short years, GPR Leasing is celebrating a long list of accomplishments. What started as a potential solution to some of Africa’s railway transport challenges has grown into an African locomotive and wagon leasing solution and entity that is economical, effective, and reliable.
Rail has been reborn as the future of Africa’s industrialisation. This is according to an article by Engineering News, who reports that, due to several recent global investments and initiatives, rail volumes will increase materially in the African region.
End 2013, Grindrod Pembani Remgro Leasing (GPRL) was born to provide a long-term, sustainable solution for the continent’s shortfalls in railway transportation. Drawing from global learnings, a joint venture between Grindrod and the Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund (PRIF) was formed to provide flexible leasing solutions to Africa.
Only half-a-decade later, GPRL is powering forward into the next five years with significant milestones under its belt.
A well-oiled machine
Despite facing significant environmental, operational, and implementation challenges unique to each country it expanded into, GPRL has built a significant fleet that runs consistently – every day – at a 90%+ availability.
Over the years, this large, South African-built locomotive and wagon fleet has transported a diversity of freight; from copper, sulphur, coal, fuel, grain, to containers and general freight, clocking approximately 700,000 hours while delivering freight over an estimated distance of 8 million kilometres.
For the first few years of operation, GPRL focused on acquiring and leasing a fleet fit for purpose diesel electric locomotives, which it has deployed throughout the Cape gauge and 1-metre gauge networks in Africa. Subsequently, the company focused its attention on developing a fleet of wagons that are light-weight and designed to clients’ particular freight requirements. Over the next five years, GPRL will be well-positioned for accelerated growth, which is in line with the steadily increasing rail freight, shortage of reliable rolling stock and the company’s innovative new offerings. Consequently, the company envisages that it will become one of the most prominent private locomotive and wagon leasing supplier to African railway clients on cape and 1-metre gauge.
“Although Africa can be an intimidating environment, we have successfully managed to build an offering that is flexible, innovative, and reliable,” says Jacques de Klerk of GPRL. “More importantly, what started as a vision is now a well-proven concept that provides our clients the ability to move freight cost-effectively, allowing them to move freight profitably and reliably.”
As a company that is now well-equipped to service Africa’s rail operators, concession operators, shippers and public and private rail users, GPRL looks forward to achieving even more significant milestones in the next five years.