Amber Infrastructure Group (‘Amber’), the specialist international investment manager, confirms its Rail First business has been awarded Australia’s first freight Green Loan accreditation for a A$125 million tranche, recognising its sustainability and local manufacturing credentials.
Rail First is Australia’s leading freight rail leasing business and owns the nation’s third largest intermodal fleet, which includes more than 1,200 wagons. It is the only local manufacturer of intermodal wagons, which are not used to transport fossil fuels. Amber acquired Rail First in September 2022 as part of a joint venture with DIF Capital Partners.
The A$125 million Green Loan will fund Rail First’s ESG commitments, including the acquisition, upgrade and maintenance of intermodal wagons that have zero direct tailpipe carbon emissions. These initiatives further support the decarbonisation of Australia’s transport sector, which currently accounts for approximately 20% of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. Rail freight is one of the most energy efficient forms of transport, producing 16 times less carbon pollution for every tonne-km travelled compared to road freight and significantly reduced crash costs.
As part of its Green Loan requirements, Rail First will report annually on relevant impact metrics including the estimated CO2 emissions avoided or reduced through the operation of its intermodal wagon fleet.
In addition to Rail First, Amber’s Australian team has a strong track record of investing in the transport sector, including managing infrastructure assets Reliance Rail and Gold Coast Light Rail.
Amber’s Head of Asia-Pacific, Vaughan Wallace, said: “Rail First’s strong ESG credentials were a key reason for our attraction to the business, aligning with Amber’s responsible investment philosophy. As the nation’s only local wagon manufacturer, Rail First has a unique point of difference, offering the industry’s highest quality and most environmentally friendly rolling stock solutions. Its onshore manufacturing provides greater supply chain control, facilitating sustainable sourcing of materials, end-of-life waste reduction, and regulated, safe working conditions for employees. Amber is focused on expanding Rail First’s domestic wagon manufacturing capacity, which also reduces unnecessary emissions from the transport of built wagons to Australia. While Rail First already provides the most energy efficient means of freight transport, this Green Loan will further incentivise the company to optimise its existing wagons, locomotives and operations, contributing towards a sustainable, low-carbon economy and Australia’s net zero emissions goal by 2050.”
ING Bank is the sustainability co-ordinator of the green loan facility. Lead underwriters include ING Bank (Australia) Limited, Nord/LB, Singapore Branch and Siemens Bank GmbH.
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About Amber Infrastructure Group
Amber Infrastructure (‘Amber’) is a specialist international investment manager, focused on investment origination, asset management and fund management. With over €5.5 billion in funds under management, Amber invests across eight funds and a number of managed accounts.
Amber’s core business focuses on sourcing, developing, advising, investing in and managing infrastructure assets across the public, transport, energy, digital and demographic infrastructure sectors that support the lives of people, homes and businesses internationally.
Amber is headquartered in London with offices in Europe, North America and Australia and employs over 170 infrastructure professionals.