Transnet moves forward with Plan B for spare parts as 300 locomotives sit idle

CEO of Transnet Freight Rail, Siza Mzimela.

As coal and other valuable exports continue to suffer due to unreliable rail services, some 300 Transnet locomotives are parked due to the inability to source spare parts from a Chinese manufacturer key. Having finally lost hope of negotiating a resolution, the public logistics company has focused on re-engineering spare parts and is calling on the private sector to step in.

In an interview with Fin24 this week, Transnet Freight Rail CEO Siza Mzimela said the state-owned company had “wasted a lot of time” trying to resolve a standoff with a critical Chinese equipment supplier that refused to supply it with spares, which has resulted in deteriorating guardrail performance – with 300 out of 2,313 locomotives currently out of service.

Relations have deteriorated with state-owned Chinese Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) since it faced legal action by Transnet against it and others for allegedly illegal tenders during state capture of 1,064 new locomotives. CRRC refused to continue its business with Transnet and attempts to procure spare parts by other means proved unsuccessful. According to industry sources, the Chinese pressured other suppliers not to help Transnet.

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