Transnet buys trains and launches Swazilink

13 January 2012

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15 January 2012 | Adam Leach

Transnet has signed a deal to purchase 43 new diesel electric locomotives and broken ground on a new rail freight line to Swaziland.

The transport and logistics company, which is part owned by the South African government, identified both deals as key to improving the ability to transport supplies by rail while also stimulating local economic growth.

The contract for the 43 trains was awarded to the South African arm of General Electric (GE) in part because it fulfilled commitments under the government’s Competitive Supplier Development Programme (CSDP), a measure to maximise local economic benefits of government contracts through local sourcing and skills development.

A total of 65.15 per cent of the contract value will go to the local economy and the US ambassador to South Africa said that US companies should look at it as model method to pursue growth in the South African market.

A day after confirming the purchase of the trains (12 January), Transnet and Swaziland Railways launched the Swazilink rail line project at a sod-turning ceremony. The 146km line, running from Mpumalanga in South Africa to Sidvokodvu Junction in Swaziland, is intended to increase the rail freight capacity between the two countries by 15 million tonnes.

Speaking at the launch, Transnet group chief executive Brian Molefe, said: “When complete, this new line will create additional capacity of 15 million tonnes, which will predominantly be general freight volumes from the existing coal export line. We promise to ensure that such new capital investments are translated into tangible benefits for the people of both Swaziland and South Africa.”

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