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For rail operators, annuity type income flows are the sweet spot of the business. As we like to say in the industry, it’s the fleet in the field that earns the return.

So why, then, would Traxtion Sheltam invest in a new 50 000 sq m property in Rosslyn, north of Pretoria – including a state-of-the-art 11 000 sq m under-roof workshop – to be the new home of its Technical Division? There are five main reasons.

  1. Reliability. In our sector, fleet reliability is a critical factor in increasing efficiency and reducing total cost of ownership (TCO). The performance of every railway operation is only as good as the maintenance regime that supports it. Nowadays, a lot of maintenance can be done in the field and in satellite workshops, but the heavy interventions require the specialised equipment, tools, skills and parts that you only get from a centralised hub.
  2. Capacity. We’ve got some of the best engineering skills in the business, but have never been able to bring these skills to market effectively because of capacity constraints. We’ve got a great reservoir of skills, and more than 30 years’ experience of operating and maintaining assets in Africa. Now we’ve got a state-of-the-art workshop to take the Traxtion Sheltam benchmark of quality in engineering to the broader industry.
  3. People. To drive the growth of a modern rail industry in Africa, you need continued investment into the skills of your people. Our new facility is the home of our Rail School, where we put trainee artisans through a three-year, TETA-accredited training programme to ensure we have the right level of skills in place.
  4. Platform. Our new facility is a maintenance hub for our leased fleets in Africa, where we will ultimately be able to refurbish up to 15 locomotives at any given time. It’s a platform to offer services, train people and distribute parts to the industry across the region. It’s also our home base for our significant inventory holding and where we can perform heavy interventions across our fleet of 45 locomotives, 60 wagons and 10 cabooses. 
  5. Vision. But the real opportunity of our new Rosslyn facility lies in collaboration and synergy. Our vision is to develop our Rosslyn facility as a rail services hub for the broader industry, and will invite our partners and complimentary suppliers to develop their own operations with us to supply cost-effective services and solutions. 

For us, rail is key to unlocking Africa’s potential. This facility is the foundation for us to take our business to the next level.