Prasa tender date looms

2012-11-25 10:00
Andile Ntingi
The seven bidders for the R40 billion tender from the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) to provide a new fleet of train coaches will know their fate on December 12.

The passenger rail parastatal will pick the preferred bidder to manufacture 3 600 new coaches over 10 years to replace Prasa’s 40-year-old fleet.

Although the decision to manufacture South Africa’s modern trains will be made on Friday, a public announcement will be made on December 12 following consultations with the Cabinet.

The new coaches are the first batch of Prasa’s acquisition of 7 224 over 20 years.

The second tranche of 3 624 coaches will be delivered in the second decade of the 20-year period.

In total, Prasa is expected to spend R123 billion on the programme, and about 65% of the components and parts will be sourced in South Africa.

“The first train will be delivered in the first quarter of 2015,” said Prasa chief executive Lucky Montana.

In the running for the tender are seven foreign train manufacturers: Canadian firm Bombadier, French group Alstom, China South Rail, Swiss manufacturer Stadler, China North Rail, Spanish firm CAF, and a consortium of China South Rail and Wictra of South Africa.

Montana said that transport and logistics parastatal Transnet would build a factory that would manufacture the coaches and lease it to a winning bidder for a 10-year period.

The machines and equipment inside the factory will also be purchased by Transnet.

Montana said the Prasa investment would help modernise the county’s passenger rail rolling stock and revitalise the local rail industry, which has been in the doldrums due to lack of investment.

The winning bidder will be expected to transfer skills and technology to South Africans to help develop the country’s capability to manufacture modern trains.

“The plant will revert to Transnet after 10 years.

“We hope by then South Africa will have the capacity to manufacture the trains on its own through Transnet Rail Engineering,” Montana said.