Global rail players flocking into SA

European rail engineering players are flocking into the country to grab a share in the massive rail sector refurbishment.

A new consortium led by Swiss rolling stock manufacturer Stadler Rail Group was unveiled this week with an objective of bidding for work in the R123 billion rolling stock renewal programme launched by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA).

The Stadler led consortium also includes globalised power and automation player ABB and local South African rail company Naledi Rail Engineering.  The consortium is named Dudula Rail.

In a statement released yesterday the consortium said the objective of Dudula Rail is to compete in the stock renewal programme in South Africa, which will be implemented over the next 20 years. “Once established in South Africa, Stadler aims to enter other Sub-Saharan African countries, with a special focus on providing manufacturing abilities of world-class passenger trains locally in South Africa for export”.

The consortium said it will utilise Stadler’s global expertise in the regional and suburban rail transport market, as well as the understanding and expertise of its local partners about South Africa’s operating environment.

Felice Massaro, Spokesperson for Dudula Rail and Executive Vice President of Stadler Rail Group said; “Our consortium has been put together in such a way that the manufacturing and assembly of the rolling stock will take place in South Africa and carried out by South Africans. We are confident that we will not only meet but also exceed PRASA’s targets for local content and job creation.”

He said a critical aspect of this bid is skills development.

Massaro said “Our track record in this area demonstrates our consortium’s ability to implement localisation strategy in South Africa that will also support the South African government’s approach in dealing with its requirements to resolve a number of outstanding infrastructure projects.”

“We are confident that our approach to establishing an open and transparent partnership with the South African Government will not only deliver a modern, efficient, safe and affordable passenger rail system, but also leave a lasting legacy that empowers and enriches South Africa as a nation.”

The family owned and Swiss-based Stadler Rail Group is a global leader in the railway sector. Naledi Rail Engineering is a 100% black-owned and controlled company that will work together with Stadler Rail to design, manufacture and assemble Prasa’s rolling stock in the context of the country’s unique challenges and requirements vital in delivering a world-class train system to its commuters.

ABB has been present in South Africa for more than 20 years and has the local capabilities to manufacture the propulsion system, power electronics and motors required. The most important aspect of ABB’s role in the consortium is its ability to localise the production of power electronics. ABB’s railway technology is renowned for increasing performance and energy efficiency while improving passenger comfort.

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