In a ceremony held at its Koedoespoort manufacturing facility in Pretoria on 21 February, Transnet Limited took delivery of the first two of the 100 locomotives it is purchasing from General Electric South Africa Technologies (GESAT) – the local arm of General Electric (GE). Transnet and General Electric entered into an agreement for the supply of 100 Model C30ACi diesels – the first AC diesel locomotives to be introduced in sub-Saharan Africa. Three of these locomotives generate the same hauling power as four of the older models currently in use, saving approximately 600,000 litres of fuel a year. The locomotives, which are to be used both on the export coal line and general freight business of Transnet Freight Rail, are part of the group’s fleet renewal plan and R93.5 billion 5-year capital investment programme.

In terms of the agreement, GE will build the first 10 units at its plants in the United States, while the remaining 90 will be assembled at Transnet Rail Engineering (TRE) manufacturing facilities in Koedoespoort. GE will supply all major components including engines, alternators and other hardware. TRE will be responsible for the complete assembly as well as sub-assemblies.

Speaking at the ceremony to celebrate the launch, minister of public enterprises Malusi Gigaba said: “This is a groundbreaking achievement for which we should all be proud. The agreement between Transnet and General Electric will go a long way towards ensuring that our state-owned entities play a significant role in advancing the goals of our new growth path. Jobs, skills development – especially engineering and technical skills – localisation of equipment manufacture, and ensuring that our logistics infrastructure (for which Transnet is responsible), works efficiently are some of the key deliverables on which we are to be judged.”

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