Transnet goes to court to force Chinese supplier to release spares

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Transnet is taking CRRC to court to force it to release spares.
Transnet is taking CRRC to court to force it to release spares.

Transnet on Wednesday launched an application at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to compel the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) to make available imported spare parts and components which are critical to service and maintain certain locomotives.

CRRC is one of four original equipment manufacturers that were lined up to supply 1 064 new locomotives to Transnet. Transnet and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), however, approached the court to overturn these contracts, worth R54.4 billion, as they are deemed to have been irregular and illegal and were awarded in the midst of state capture.

Seemingly in retaliation, CRRC has since refused to supply Transnet with spares for the 95 20E and 100 21E locomotives it acquired from CRRC in 2012 and 2014. This has resulted in severe operational issues with some 300 locomotives out of operation at last count resulting in enormous financial losses for Transnet and its customers.

On the coal export line alone, miners estimate they have suffered billions in opportunity losses due to unreliable railing services. 

The application, which has been launched against CRRC's local subsidiary E- Loco Supply (Pty) Ltd, provides for an urgent hearing to secure the immediate release of the spares to Transnet for use in the locomotives, and for the amount due by Transnet to CRRC for such spares, if anything, to be determined in due course, the parastatal said in a statement.

"Access to the spare parts and components will allow Transnet to bring back to service 53 Class 20E and 67 Class 21E long-standing locomotives - which have been long-standing as a result of the inability to access the required spares and components. In addition, it will contribute to timely maintenance of these two fleet classes," Transnet said.

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