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CBH signs major agreements to expand rail fleet

The CBH Group has selected a new rail services provider, which will be responsible for rail logistics planning services including train planning and scheduling, tracking, maintenance, inventory control and crew management.

The CBH Group has entered into agreements with CRRC Meishan and Wabtec Corporation to expand the co-operative’s rail fleet.

Based in Sichuan province, CRRC Meishan is one of China’s leading manufacturers of quality rail equipment, specialising in the building and distribution of rail cars and grain hopper wagons worldwide.

It will supply CBH with 200 standard-gauge and 450 narrow gauge grain hopper wagons.

Due to the size of the order, the wagons will be delivered to CBH in seven tranches, beginning in September quarter of 2024, with the last tranche expected to be supplied and accepted by the June quarter of 2025.

Wabtec, a leading global provider of equipment, systems and digital solutions for the freight and transit rail sectors, will build 17 CM20ACi dual-cab, diesel-electric locomotives for CBH.

The first tranche of five locomotives will arrive in Australia in the March quarter of 2026 and will be operational soon after. The following second tranche of 12 locomotives will be arriving in the June quarter of 2026.

CBH opened three competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) processes in 2022 for the purchase of standard-gauge locomotives, narrow-gauge locomotives and wagons, to expand and strengthen its current rail fleet, which consists of 25 locomotives and 572 wagons.

CBH Chief Executive Officer Ben Macnamara said all three RFP processes have now been completed, marking a step to significantly expand the co-operative’s rail fleet.

“We are pleased to partner with CRRC Meishan, which is recognised internationally as a global leader in the design, manufacture and supply of quality grain hopper wagons,” Macnamara said.

“Our rail fleet is a key asset for the co-operative and expanding our existing train sets is a strategic priority that is critical for us to achieve CBH’s ‘Path to 2033’ strategy that aims to lift our monthly export capacity to 3 million tonnes by 2033 or sooner.

“Expanding our wagon rolling stock, in conjunction with the expansion of our standard-gauge and narrow-gauge locomotive fleets, is a significant step to improve our outloading capability.

“By investing in our supply chain network, we are ensuring we can deliver tonnes to customers when needed and therefore return sustained value to Western Australian growers.”

CRRC Meishan Chairman of the Board Pan Shuping said the company was excited CBH had selected CRRC Meishan for the expansion of their wagon rolling stock fleet.

“The new hopper wagons will incorporate innovative designs to allow low wagon tare weight and quick discharge rate,” Pan said.

“CRRC Meishan is committed to working with CBH to bring reliable products for highly efficient operations.”

Wabtec President of Freight Equipment Rogerio Mendonca said the company was excited to be selected for the expansion of CBH’s narrow-gauge locomotive fleet.

“The CM20ACi is a perfect addition to CBH’s growing fleet,” Mendonca said.

“These locomotives will provide CBH with low operational costs, high availability and proven reliability needed to succeed in today’s competitive market.”

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