Vale deal (Photo Wabtec)

BRAZIL: Mining group Vale has signed a 10-year master service agreement with Wabtec Corp for maintenance of the Evolution series diesel-electric locomotives used on the 1 600 mm gauge Estrada de Ferro Carajás. Worth R$1∙8bn, the agreement will ‘optimise the maintenance services for Vale’s fleet, increasing availability, reliability and the potential for expanded freight transport on the EFC’.

Locomotive performance data collated by EFC over the last three years will be combined with real-time monitoring of around 5 000 parameters on the Evolution fleet to identify opportunities for continuous performance improvement and optimisation of maintenance cycles.

Vale already uses AI to help manage its EFC locomotive fleet and other assets. Laser, ultrasound and video systems are deployed to monitor and measure parameters such as temperature, noise and component dimensions to determine maintenance requirements for locomotives, wagons and track components.

The agreement between Vale and Wabtec covers planning and supply of parts for preventive maintenance and will create a number of job opportunities in São Luis.

EFC operates a fleet of 300 locomotives and around 24 000 wagons, running an average of 22 pairs of trains a day. A standard ore train is formed of 330 wagons, each able to carry a 104 tonne payload.

Following extensive modernisation and double-tracking of its main line from Parauapebas to São Luis, EFC has the capacity to move 240 million tonnes of iron ore and other commodities a year from mines at Carajás and the S11D complex.

Carlos Medeiros, Vale’s Vice-President of Operations, said that ‘this long-term strategic agreement means a new standard of reliability, availability and safety for EFC locomotives, reinforcing our commitment to consistently invest in the quality and technology of our railway operations and promote the technological development of the railway sector in Brazil’.

  • Brazilian Minister of Transport Renan Filho said on June 5 that it was not possible to set a date for the government’s decision on Vale’s proposal for a review of its concession contracts for the Estrada de Ferro Carajás and Estrada de Ferro Vitória a Minas. ‘The government is checking whether or not it accepts Vale’s proposal’, said the minister, who nevertheless indicated that a decision was ‘close’. Vale has proposed to pay the government R$16bn for grants not paid in the early renewal of its railway agreements during the term of the previous government.