PERTH, Australia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The CBH Group (CBH) has entered into an agreement with Wabtec Corporation (NYSE: WAB) to acquire 17 narrow-gauge locomotives, marking a significant investment in expanding the co-operative’s rail fleet as part of the ‘Path to 2033 Strategy’.
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 the second half of 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.
In December 2022, CBH announced an order for seven standard-gauge locomotives, scheduled to be in Australia and operational by November 2024.
CBH Chief Executive Officer Ben Macnamara said the agreement with Wabtec will increase CBH’s narrow-gauge locomotive fleet to 37.
“We are pleased to partner with Wabtec to acquire new narrow-gauge locomotives, a global leader in the design, manufacture and supply of quality locomotives,” Mr 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 narrow-gauge locomotive fleet, in conjunction with the expansion of our standard-gauge locomotive fleet, is a significant step to enhance 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.”
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,” Mr Mendonca said.
“These locomotives will provide CBH with low operational costs, high availability and proven reliability needed to succeed in today’s competitive market.”
Wabtec Senior Regional Vice President, South East Asia, Australia, and New Zealand Wendy McMillan said the company is looking forward to supporting CBH’s service of Western Australia’s agriculture industry.
“These locomotives will enable CBH to increase grain shipments and drive CO2 emission reductions by moving more grain via rail,” Ms McMillan said.
CBH’s ‘Path to 2033’ Strategy is focused on incrementally increasing the co-operative’s monthly export capacity over three-time horizons to reach a peak of 3 million tonnes by 2033, or sooner. The delivery of the Strategy is aligned with the objective of being able to safely receive an average 22 million tonne crop by 2033 and outturn 70% of this in the first half of the shipping window.