Locomotive deal may save jobs
Johannesburg - Union Carriage & Wagon (UCW), owned by embattled construction group Murray & Roberts Holdings [JSE:MUR], has signed a contract for an additional 32 locomotives for the Transnet Freight Rail ore line between Sishen and Saldanha, it said on Wednesday.
This order, it said, could help retain jobs.
UCW, based in Nigel, said it concluded a contract with Venus Railway Solutions, a black economic empowerment (BEE) subsidiary of Japan's Mitsui & Co for 32 x 15E locomotives, which would have a minimum 50% local content.
UCW was nearing completion of a contract for 44 x 15E locomotives for the iron ore line, and 110 x 19E locomotives for the coal line between Ermelo and Richards Bay. It said that 88 of these locomotives had already been delivered to Transnet Freight Rail.
MD Gary Steinmetz said: "UCW is proud to be contributing to the much-needed tractive effort required in SA not only for iron ore and coal transportation, but also for general freight requirements.
"It is further testament to the capability that exists locally and UCW is uniquely positioned to provide design and manufacturing support to the passenger rail revitalisation plans that underpin our country's infrastructure investment needs.
"These contracts will provide much-needed job security for South Africans employed in rail and manufacturing industry, particularly with respect to skills retention, which remains a key factor to successfully manufacture rolling stock in SA," he said.
UCW provides innovative rail transport solutions to SA and selected export markets. It employs close on 1 300 people, and this additional order would assist with employment retention and promote local component manufacture in SA, the group said.
Production of the additional locomotives would commence in December 2011, with the first of the 32 units ready for delivery in August 2012.