Locomotive and rail operator Traxtion Sheltam plans to move into its rail services hub in Rosslyn, Pretoria, later this month. This is according to Traxtion Sheltam CEO James Holley.
The rail services hub will be the base for Traxtion Sheltam’s operations across the Southern African Development Community region and it will provide locomotive rebuild, overhaul and upgrade, as well as parts refurbishment services, for its own fleet and third parties. The hub will enable the company to rebuild up to nine locomotives at a time.
The company begun the project last year, owing to its requiring a hub to service its own fleet of locomotives, wagons and cabooses.
“We have found the ideal site in Rosslyn for a locomotive workshop in the form of an old pipe manufacturing factory,” said James Holley.
The company has invited other non-competing industry and participant to benefit from “the synergies of working from one location” as the 50 000m2 site is too large for the company’s requirements.
The company’s rail school, located in Randfontein, Gauteng, will be relocated to the site in Rosslyn and the company will also distribute parts from the site.
Phase I of the hub which is 90% complete will be 7 750 m2, including a fully functioning workshop that will service all Traxtion Sheltam’s and third-party clients’ existing requirements. Phase 1 of the facility will also include component repair bays, secure parts storage facilities, ample parking space for rolling stock, offices and meeting rooms.
“We have a further seven phases planned, which include capacity expansions, a wheel shop, a dedicated parts warehouse and extra workshops for those interested in joining the hub.”said James Holley.
Other investment platforms
Traxtion Sheltam launched Traxtion Leasing, a focused rolling stock leasing company, and Traxtion Projects, a focused rail infrastructure investment platform, in October last year.
Traxtion Leasing focuses on product innovation and flexible financing solutions. Traxtion Projects,is the first dedicated rail track infrastructure platform focused exclusively on Africa aiming to invest in concession companies and rail track upgrades, as well as new-build projects and associated infrastructure.
Holley states that Traxtion Leasing is busy with final negotiations on two transactions, with Traxtion Projects well advanced on an exciting track refurbishment project. “Given the highly capital intensive nature of these deals, the transactions naturally take time.”
He mentions that many of the railways in Africa are yet to live up to their potential and Traxtion Sheltam aims to build a company that provides governments, private and public railways, mines and industry a platform to reach their potential. He believes that the biggest opportunities lie in increasing the capacity of public and private railways across the continent.
The company is excited about the opportunity for railways in Africa, pointing out that, Africa’s economies is continuing to grow hence the need for them to invest in infrastructure.
“Railways present the most efficient mode of transport for large volumes across long distances. We’ve been around for 30 years–we know what works and we have the capital behind us to make a meaningful impact to the industry,” he concludes.
The company expects its hub to add efficiency and cost savings, as it will bring different industry participants together.