Transnet Class 22E electric locomotives (Photo: Bruce Evans).

SOUTH AFRICA: Transnet has announced its intention to call an open tender for the rehabilitation of 161 non-operational locomotives ‘as a matter of urgency’, saying it had reached an impasse with the manufacturer.

The CRRC Class 22E electric locos are intended for use on the North, Northeast and Cape Corridors which account for roughly 50% of Transnet Freight Rail’s revenue, and the operator said repairing them would be ’a critical intervention not only for Transnet’s sustainability, but for the South African economy’.

On January 12, Transnet said it would be issuing a competitive tender ‘in the next few weeks’ inviting any eligible manufacturer to undertake the work.

After ‘intensive good faith negotiations’, it had concluded an agreement with CRRC E-Loco (Pty) Ltd on November 25 covering rehabilitation, long-term support, repayment to Transnet of ‘unjustified profits’ by CRRC and the delivery of the remaining 99 locomotives at a ‘corrected’ price.

However, implementation of the agreement requires the normalising of CRRC’s local operations by the South African Revenue Service and the South African Reserve Bank, and Transnet said it had reached an impasse ‘following unwillingness on the part of CRRC to engage with the relevant authorities’.