Swaady Martin, Acting Chief Executive Officer of GE South Africa Technologies, and Pradeep Maharaj, Acting Group Chief Executive at Transnet.

SOUTH AFRICA: GE Transportation announced the signing of a contract with Transnet Ltd to supply Transnet freight Rail with 100 C30ACi freight locomotives on December 18. Deliveries are scheduled for 2011-12. The manufacturer says they will be the first diesel-electric locomotives with AC traction equipment in sub-Saharan Africa.

They are being supplied through GE South Africa Technologies (Pty) Ltd, which GE established with Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment company Mineworkers Investment Company in December 2008.

GE Transportation's Erie plant will produce 10 complete locomotives, while 90 will be supplied as kits for assembly by Transnet Rail Engineering as part of the South African government's Competitive Supplier Development Programme which aims to encourage industrial development.

'We worked closely with Transnet Rail Engineering to develop a comprehensive localisation plan that complements local strengths and transfers world-class skills and technology where applicable', said Lorenzo Simonelli, President & CEO of GE Transportation.

EMD, GE Transportation and Siemens had been invited to bid for the contract. An earlier tendering process had selected EMD and Sibanye Trade & Services as preferred bidder to supply 212 locomotives, but was cancelled after Transnet found 'procedural irregularities'.

There are about 1 200 GE locomotives in Africa, according to the manufacturer, including around 900 in South Africa.