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Transnet, GE have combined forces to bring the Industrial Internet to Africa

PUBLISHED: Thu, 26 Jan 2017 16:54:25 GMT

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GE and Transnet share their plan to Digitize Africa’s Transport Sector

  • Plan aimed at delivering digital solutions that will enhance efficiency and productivity
  • Plan will diversify relationship beyond locomotive manufacture and export
  • Plan will embed the values of social responsibility through necessary programmes
  • GE & Transnet have been partners for almost 10 years

GE, the world’s premier digital industrial company, and Transnet, Africa’s largest and most developed rail and ports operator, announced their plan to partner on digitizing Africa’s transport sector.

Their proposed plan will deliver a digital solution that will seamlessly connect shippers and transport operators, making it dramatically easier for a company to understand pricing and capacity on the network, plan a shipment, and get their goods to market.

Every day, 13 thousand containers and 620 thousand tons of goods critical to Africa’s economy are delivered by Transnet. Africa’s intracontinental trade has nearly doubled since 1995, and the increasing volume of goods moving through the supply chain is creating transportation and logistical complexities that slow down shipments.

The digital solution will be enabled by Predix, the operating system for GE’s Industrial Internet or Internet of Things (IOT).

It will connect shippers and transport operators by providing real-time, data-driven insights on the status of shipments. It takes laborious processes, like payment, customs and inspection, from paper to digital, and creates an on-demand solution for transporting freight inspired by consumer on-demand transportation models

Speaking at the Gordon Institute of Business Science, GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said, “The digital opportunity for industry is now,”.

“At GE, we have embraced data and analytics, and see it as a driving force transforming our operations and those of our customers globally,” he continued.

“This planned digital partnership with Transnet will be another step forward in how we can work together to improve Africa’s Transport sector, delivering efficiency and productivity.”

Transnet’s Group Chief Executive, Siyabonga Gama said this is another first for the GE and Transnet partnership that continues to deliver value to South Africa’s growth strategy – the National Development Plan.

“This digital solution will be key in optimizing freight efficiency and bringing products to market faster and for less cost across the continent.  The cost of moving goods from point A to point B is very high and it is passed onto the end customer, impeding Africa’s ability to be competitive in pricing.”

Gama said businesses will be subsequently enabled to meet the high level of customer expectations, gain competitive edge and continue to thrive in today’s robust digital economy.

 The planned partnership will further strengthen the already existing relationship that the two companies enjoy, through leveraging on Transnet’s domain experience and expertise with the established GE digital knowledge.

 GE South Africa Technologies (GESAT) – a subsidiary of GE started working with Transnet in 2008 on Transnet’s locomotive fleet renewal program which is part of its R300 billion capital investment program – the market demand strategy (MDS).

Three years ago, GESAT and Transnet signed an export agreement to jointly manufacture locomotives in South Africa and sell to the rest of Africa.


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