Rolling stock manufacturer TMH Africa has signed a framework agreement with global rolling stock manufacturer United Wagon Company (UWC) to jointly supply the African market with freight wagons for narrow-gauge rail lines.
The framework agreement lays the foundation for an industrial partnership between the companies, which is the first of its kind in the industry.
Under this industrial partnership, TMH Africa and UWC agreed to cooperate in the field of freight wagon supply. UWC will have the right to contract its orders and those of its customers in Africa to TMH Africa under the best available terms and conditions.
These orders will be implemented by TMH Africa at its Boksburg facility and can include manufacturing, assembly and maintenance of freight wagons and components.
TMH Africa's 64 000 m2 facility has a rich history and legacy of manufacturing, servicing and refurbishing rolling stock for over 100 years. It has about 200 employees and it is the centre of excellence for the narrow-gauge products within the TMH Group - the parent company of TMH Africa.
"This is a big milestone for TMH Africa as it will further support our pursuit to service the African market out of South Africa. It recognises our narrow gauge and bogie expertise and will result in increased workload, increased export revenues and position South Africa as the rail manufacturing hub for the region," notes TMH Africa CEO Jerome Boyet.
He says the expertise in freight vehicles that UWC brings to the party - coupled with TMH Africa's local and the TMH Group's global rolling stock expertise - position this partnership as one that will add value to the revitalisation of the freight rail network on the continent.
"We believe in Africa as a market within which we can share our experiences for the mutual benefit of all parties. TMH Africa is the ideal partner to grow our presence on the continent, providing opportunities to optimize deliveries through local assembly and maintenance operations", says UWC sales director Ivan Mikhalevich.
He adds that the narrow-gauge network is an enabler for increasing the volumes of freight that is migrated from road to rail.
A big part of untapping this potential is ensuring consistent supply of world-class freight wagons and their components. This is the value that this partnership will deliver to the public and private sector customers.
UWC is one of the largest rolling stock manufacturing companies globally with production capacities of more than 20 000 freight wagons a year.
"We are humbled by the realisation of this partnership which, in our two years of existence, affirms our commitment to Africa.
"It further aligns our growth aspirations and priorities with those of the country and the continent and affords the opportunity to make a contribution towards enabling intra-Africa trade and promoting a cleaner environment and lower carbon emissions by moving freight from road to rail," Boyet concludes.