Pretoria — Today South Africa's state-owned freight transport and logistics company Transnet announced that the U.S. company General Electric (GE) has won a contract to produce 233 locomotives for the South African rail freight network.
The purchase announced today is in addition to the 143 locomotives that Transnet has ordered from GE since 2010.
U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Patrick H. Gaspard, who was at the Transnet announcement today, welcomed the news saying, "This award is the culmination of years of investment by General Electric in South Africa. The partnership between GE and Transnet is providing South Africans the critical training and expertise in high-end manufacturing needed to ensure thousands of good jobs for the future."
According to GE, the core parts of the locomotives including the engines will be made in the U.S. and the machines will be assembled at a facility in South Africa. GE says it has invested more than $500 million to develop the Evolution Series line since 2005, making it the most advanced heavy-haul, diesel-electric locomotive in the world. This technology will help Transnet lower fuel and maintenance costs over the long run. Over the past five years, GE South Africa Technologies has delivered over 115,000 hours of training, over 35% manufacturing of local content, social upliftment in communities, and technology transfer.
"For decades General Electric has been identified as one of America's leading technology companies and it has a proven track record in South Africa and the region through its existing collaboration with Transrail," said Ambassador Gaspard. "GE's contributions to bringing leading technology and efficiency to South Africa' rail sector will benefit the country now and over the long term as GE rail equipment help the country and its industries tackle its transportation challenges."
"The announcement today shows once again the value that U.S. companies like GE can bring to South Africa through partnership and collaboration. The American Chamber of Commerce in South Africa recently found that its largest 78 firms directly employ nearly 70,000 workers and another 75,000 indirectly. These are the jobs that South Africans are looking for and I'm proud that the U.S. private sector is delivering on that promise."
President and CEO of General Electric South Africa Tim Schweikert said, "GE South Africa Technologies is honored to be awarded the opportunity to partner with Transnet in revitalizing South Africa's rail sector. We are proud to be delivering the Evolution Series GE ES40ACi diesel electric locomotives, the most technologically advanced locomotive of its kind in the world. We want to thank Ambassador Gaspard and the U.S. Embassy for their support that contributed to this great outcome."