At a ceremony last week, Transport Ministers Albert Flindé (Ivory Coast) and Gilbert Ouédraogo (Burkina Faso) and the heads of Bolloré Africa Logistics, which owns Sitarail Group, inaugurated two high-performance GT26 3300-HP locomotives.
“The purchase of these new locomotives marks the beginning of a fresh boost for Sitarail in the transport of goods and passengers”, Minister Albert Flindé was pleased to announce, whilst reiterating that in 1994 the company acquired rail transport operations between the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso. For him, the new acquisition will further boost the significance of the exciting rail adventure between the two countries. He subsequently reminded listeners that the priorities of the railways were, among others, to renew hauled stock and meet the challenge of strong, profitable and sustainable growth for all. “We must strive to make this railway the future of our nations”, urged Mr Flindé.
Shortly before, his Burkinabe counterpart Gilbert Noël Ouédraogo had acknowledged the “partnership between our States and Sitarail, which strives to develop the railways in the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso”. Bolloré Africa Logistics’ CEO Mr Dominique Lafont pointed out that Bolloré’s strength stems from its meshing strategy in Africa. According to him, Abidjan is a strategic corridor, and Sitarail its backbone. Given that, he says, “the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso combined represent 40% of Bolloré’s 20 000 staff in 40 countries.”
Finally, Executive Board Chairman Mr Lanciné Diawara unveiled that the two locomotives required 2.9 billion CFA francs’ worth of financing. He also announced that the rail company’s new investment plan involves injecting 73 billion CFA francs towards improving track and another 60 billion CFA francs towards renewing stock, with priority given to passenger services.