Wabtec wins locomotive contract in Brazil

Railway firm VLI buys nine Evolution Series

From left to right: Renan Filho, Brazil Minister of Transport; Fabio Marchior; CFO & CEO Interim, VLI; Danilo Miyasato, President and Leader of Wabtec Latin America Region. (Image: Wabtec)

Wabtec will supply nine Evolution Series locomotives to Brazil’s VLI – a logistics solutions company that operates ports, railways and terminals.

The ES43BBI model locomotives will join the company’s premium fleet for the transport of cargo on the Ferrovia Centro-Atlântica (FCA ). The order is valued at approximately R$200 million and the first locomotives are expected to be delivered in about 18 months.

The ES43BBi is a heavy-haul locomotive specifically designed for 1000-mm gauge railways in Brazil, Wabtec said. It is equipped with a 12-cylinder, 4500-hp Evolution Series engine and eight powered axles. Along with Evolutions Series engine, the ES43BBi incorporates AC-traction system with individual axle control and articulated trucks. The locomotive also is equipped with a redesigned air-to-air system and extra blowers directly integrated onto the traction motors. Wabtec said it also provides lower lifecycle costs due to improved fuel efficiency, lower emissions, and reduced parts wear. The locomotive also features the RailConnect 360 software solutions, including Trip Optimizer, LOCOTROL Distributed Power System, PTC, and PTC 2.0, which further increases efficiency, safety, and optimizes train driving, the company said.

“The Wabtec ES43BBI was developed in Brazil, by Brazilian engineers to focus on increasing productivity, efficiency, reducing fuels, and emissions for railroads that operate in metric gauge,” said Danilo Miyasato, president and leader of Wabtec LatAm. “Given the challenges posed by the metric gauge and national logistics, Wabtec combined VLI’s needs with the most innovative AC locomotive technology. Today, there are more than 50 locomotives of this model in operation in the country with high levels of reliability and availability.”

Wabtec said the new locomotives meet the increased demand for cargo transport in the company’s Central-East corridor, through which freight from the steel industry, agribusiness, coal, fertilizers, fuel, and cellulose are shipped towards the port system of Espírito Santo. Those shipments include a recently signed 30-year contract with LD Cellulose to transport dissolving pulp. VLI will move 500,000 tons of material produced in the Triângulo Mineiro to the port of Barra do Riacho (ES) each year.

“The signing of this contract reinforces our commitment to customers who transport their cargo with VLI on the Ferrovia Centro-Atlântica and our team’s ability to co-create solutions to generate efficiency. It is also important to remember that the early renewal of the Ferrovia Centro-Atlântica concession contract will bring new increases in cargo volumes and, consequently, more incentives for national wagon and locomotive manufacturers”, says Fábio Marchiori, interim CEO of VLI and director of Finance, Supply Chain and Company Services.

For the LD Cellulose contract, the company invested R$400 million in wagons specially designed to transport dissolving pulp.

In addition to the flows recently started by the company, such as LD Celulose, VLI is studying new investments and opportunities to increase the volumes transported to the ports of Espírito Santo. An example of this is the recent announcement of a memorandum of understanding with Vports (formerly Codesa) for expansion works at the new Port of Vitória, with the aim of increasing the volume of cargo transported through the site. The document assumes that the studies to be carried out jointly may conclude that there is an opportunity for investments in railroads, ports, and terminals of up to R$200 million.

The study estimates an increase of about 5 million tons of mineral and vegetable solid bulks to the current cargo matrix in the State’s import and export flows. To handle this increase in transported volumes, VLI also will analyze the need to acquire new wagons and locomotives.

Now, VLI moves about 25 million tons per year in the ports and railroads of Espírito Santo, with cargo that travels along the Centro-Atlântica Railway, in Minas Gerais, and the Vitória-Minas Railway, where VLI operates by right-of-way, to access the ports of Espírito Santo. The current port operation is concentrated in the Praia Mole, Granéis Líquidos and Produtos Diversos, installed in the Complexo Portuário de Tubarão. However, the company believes in the growth of this corridor and is studying new public and private port opportunities in Espírito Santo.


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