GE to build locomotives for Mozambique in SA

GE to build locomotives for Mozambique in SA :Chicago-based transport, healthcare and industrial conglomerate, plans to build locomotives for Angola and Mozambique in South Africa, a move that will see the company extending its existing relationship with Transnet Engineering (TE).

This was according to Tim Schweikert, president and CEO of GE Transportation for Southern Africa, on Wednesday.

GE is partnering with TE, the train-building unit of state-owned freight and logistics group Transnet, to build heavy-haul locomotives at the former’s vast Koedoespoort factory outside Pretoria. An existing contract to produce 143 locomotives for Transnet Freight Rail comes to an end next month.

The manufacturing of trains in South Africa to supply other African countries is a small step towards realising the dream fostered by the Department of Public Enterprises, Transnet’s shareholder, of reviving South Africa’s rail engineering industry and deepening industrial development in South Africa.

Through Transnet’s competitive supplier development programme GE has, through a phased process, transferred modern train-building know-how and technology to TE, while at the same time developing a base of local suppliers for the components needed to build a locomotive.

Last week Transnet Engineering (TE) GM for strategy and marketing, Thoba Majoka, said TE and GE were in discussions to find replacement work for the contract once it was concluded.

The TE production line, Mr Majoka said, was about two months ahead, which made it the only GE locomotive production line in the world running ahead of schedule. TE has won praise from GE for the quality of the locomotives that have been produced in South Africa for their high reliability and availability.

Mr Schweikert said the programme with TE had been “very successful” with high levels of local sourcing achieved and 52,000 hours training.

Being able to source and produce locomotives locally for the African market were great advantages for GE when sourcing business on the continent.

“With Africa’s economic growth, which has tripled since 2000, GE is very bullish on Africa. We see it as a last big eco frontier and we are looking at building our capabilities in Africa,” he said.

GE “already had a really good partnership with TE” on the TFR contract “but we are also building and exporting out of South Africa, we have our first contract with CFM in Mozambique”, he said.

The order for 10 locomotives from CFM, which is Transnet’s counterpart in Mozambique, would be built at TE’s Koedoespoort plant, he said.

A further 15 locomotives for the Angolan government would also be built by TE, Mr Schweikert said. This order is the first part of what is a larger agreement for a total 100 locomotives from Angola, which was being finalised, he said.

“The other bid project we are working on is in Nigeria — with the memorandum of understanding in Nigeria (they are) looking for a broader solution (than just selling locomotives),” Mr Schweikert said, adding there was “a localisation element to it”.

GE is one of the global rail giants hoping to win the tender to supply 465 diesel locomotives to TFR, which are being ordered to support the Transnet Group’s seven-year market demand strategy aimed at boosting its capacity and stimulate economic activity.

GE to build locomotives for Mozambique in SA


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