Johannesburg: Ninety-five Chinese-made electric locomotives were delivered to South Africa on Thursday at a grand ceremony attended by the country’s president, Jacob Zuma.
South Africa’s transport utility Transnet delivered the locomotives in collaboration with the Chinese Zhuzhou Electric Locomotives Company under the China Southern Locomotive and Rolling Stock Industry Group.
Eighty-five of the locomotives were assembled at the Transnet Engineering Koedoespoort Plant in Pretoria.
In this particular project, 190 people were trained in China and 260 people were employed in the assembly, Zuma said at the ceremony in Pretoria. “The training received from the Chinese counterparts will ensure that Transnet has the necessary capability to effectively maintain these locomotives over their economic lifespan, thereby sustaining local jobs,” Zuma said.
The acquisition of these locomotives forms part of Transnet’s long-term fleet renewal programme aimed at increasing capacity whilst reducing the average age of South Africa’s locomotives fleet.
It also forms part of government’s national infrastructure development program, designed to improve the social and economic infrastructure to boost the economy and improve the quality of life.
This project marks the success of Transnet’s first venture into the production of electric locomotives.
It is also a significant step towards Transnet’s long-term goal of developing Transnet engineering into an original equipment manufacturer.
“I commend Transnet for the transition to a low carbon freight system through introducing these locomotives that are energy efficient. This will help reduce emissions and save electricity,” Zuma said.
The delivery of these locomotives will enable Transnet to transport more freight on rail in a more efficient way. “This will advance government’s objective of shifting the transportation of goods from road to rail,” said Zuma.