Transnet SOC Ltd., South Africa’s state-owned ports and rail operator, wants companies including General Electric Co. (GE) to set up permanent train-assembly plants in the nation to create jobs and a new industry.
GE has started putting together 233 locomotives in the country after Johannesburg-based Transnet in March awarded it, Bombardier Inc. and two Chinese companies a 50 billion-rand ($4.7 billion) contract to supply 1,064 diesel and electric trains over four years.
“We want to keep these factories working,” Transnet Freight Rail Chief Executive Officer Siyabonga Gama, 47, said in an interview at Bloomberg’s Johannesburg office yesterday. “We want to make sure that there are at least 50, maybe to 150 locomotives on an annual basis that will be built here so that we sustain the productivity.”
TFR, as Transnet’s biggest unit is known, is spending about two-thirds of the company’s 312 billion-rand expansion budget over the seven years through March 2019 on a new fleet, upgrading and building new lines after decades of underinvestment in the rail infrastructure of Africa’s biggest coal and iron-ore producer. TFR is boosting capacity to haul those commodities as well as steelmaking ingredient manganese.
GE and CSR Corp. (1766), China’s biggest trainmaker and a partner of Bombardier, are assembling locomotives in Pretoria, the capital, with CSR responsible for 359 units. Bombardier and China CNR Corp.’s (6199) facilities will be in the eastern port city of Durban, with each working on 240 and 232 trains respectively.
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