Swiss rolling stock manufacturer Stadler Rail Group has recently joined forces with global power and automation company ABB and local South African rail company Naledi Rail Engineering. Forming a consortium named Dudula Rail (Pty) Ltd, to bid for the R123 billion rolling stock renewal programme launched by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA).
The objective of Dudula Rail is to compete successfully in the stock renewal programme in South Africa, which will be implemented over the next 20 years. Once established in South Africa, Stadler aims to enter other Sub-Saharan African countries, with a special focus on providing manufacturing abilities of world-class passenger trains locally in South Africa for export.
The consortium, which is led by Stadler, will utilise the Swiss company’s global expertise in the regional and suburban rail transport market, as well as the understanding and expertise of its local partners about South Africa’s operating environment.
Felice Massaro, Spokesperson for Dudula Rail and Executive Vice President of Stadler Rail Group said; “Our consortium has been put together in such a way that the manufacturing and assembly of the rolling stock will take place in South Africa and carried out by South Africans. We are confident that we will not only meet but also exceed PRASA’s targets for local content and job creation.”
A critical aspect of this bid is skills development. Dudula Rail, utilising the expertise of its partners Stadler and ABB, has extensive local and international experience in training and skills development, including a successful history of enabling the localisation of manufacturing capabilities in the various countries of operation.
Massaro adds “Our track record in this area demonstrates our consortium’s ability to implement a similar localisation strategy in South Africa that will also support the South African government’s approach in dealing with its requirements to resolve a number of outstanding infrastructure projects.” Massaro also pointed out “We are confident that our approach to establishing an open and transparent partnership with the South African Government will not only deliver a modern, efficient, safe and affordable passenger rail system, but also leave a lasting legacy that empowers and enriches South Africa as a nation.”
The family owned and Swiss-based Stadler Rail Group is a global leader in the railway sector, and is able to guarantee modular products that can be fully tailored to the client’s specifications and adapted to the environment of operation. Currently this is a unique approach in the railway manufacturing industry, because the majority of producers pursue a platform strategy, which is not always in the best interest of the customer. It is through dedication, coupled with experience, flexibility, fast response times and short decision-making channels that Stadler can give this guarantee to its customers.
Naledi Rail Engineering is a 100% black-owned and controlled company that will work together with Stadler Rail to design, manufacture and assemble Prasa’s rolling stock in the context of the country’s unique challenges and requirements vital in delivering a world-class train system to its commuters.
ABB has been present in South Africa for more than 20 years and has the local capabilities to manufacture the propulsion system, power electronics and motors required. The most important aspect of ABB’s role in the consortium is its ability to localise the production of power electronics. ABB’s railway technology is renowned for increasing performance and energy efficiency while improving passenger comfort.