on July 7, 2011 in Namibia
Shetu Trading of Namibia, which is challenging the awarding of a tender for the delivery of rails to the northern railway project has successfully applied to have its case treated as urgent by the High Court.
The proceedings centre around an attempt to stop the delivery of rails brought in by a South African company for the project. The High Court agreed that Shetu could apply on an urgent basis for a court order stopping VAE SA, the South African company that won the multimillion-dollar railway tender in August 2010, from delivering 6,745 tons of rails to the Ministry of Works and Transport during June 2011.
In September 2010, Shetu launched legal proceedings asking that the VAE SA contract be reviewed and set aside.
Permanent secretary in the ministry of works George Simataa has been cited in his personal capacity as a respondent in the case, following accusations by Shetu executive director Anna Mbundu that he “interfered on” behalf of VAE SA in the tender process. In court documents Mbundu alleged that the tender process was marred by “gross irregularities”.
Although Mbundu launched the case last year, the ministry and VAE SA have continued to implement the tender, and VAE SA has allegedly already delivered over 6,000 tons of rails. She argues that the supply of rails should be stopped immediately and should not continue until the review application is heard, otherwise a victory for Shetu trading could be an “empty victory – the setting aside of the award will be meaningless if it occurs after all the railway lines have been delivered”. She said the rails were ordered by the ministry and by VAE SA although they knew that the tender was being challenged.
Construction of Namibia’s N$80m Ondangwa – Oshikango railway has restarted after a delay of more than a year, which the transport ministry blamed on non-delivery of rails. Earthworks are now complete, and 5000 tonnes of rail have been delivered from Austria.
TRANSNAMIB’S OPEN DAY
on September 7, 2011 in Namibia
On 29 August, Trans-Namib Holdings launched its first “business open-day” to promote rail transport in the business sector following the completion of the new railway from Tsumeb to Ondangwa. The event, which coincided with the Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair (OATF) and is to be held annually, was attended by well-known business personalities in the north who were taken aboard the Desert Express train for an excursion tour to Onyaanya Station.
At the new Nehale Lya Mpingana Station in Ondangwa, TransNamib Holdings chief executive officer Titus Haimbili said: “We are pleased to announce that the northern railway link was extended in 2006 by 246km from Tsumeb to Ondangwa which made it possible to transport bulk commodities up to 60km from the Angolan border.”
Promising that he would make TransNamib a profitable company before his term comes to an end, Haimbili boasted that Namibia is the only country in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) to “further develop” its railways in the past decade. The remaining 60km of line to the Angolan border is currently under construction.
Haimbili is currently president of the Southern African Railway Association (Sara).
WINDHOEK - The Deputy Prime Minister Marco Hausiku recently inaugurated the N$50 million GPT-TransNamib concrete sleeper factory that has a capacity to produce 120 000 railway sleepers per annum.
TransNamib, Namibia GPT Infraprojects Limited, India and Dorros Investments invested approximately N$50 million in the factory with a capacity of 120 00 sleepers per annum.
GPT-TransNamib is a joint venture between TransNamib, Namibia GPT Infraprojects Limited, India and Dorros Investments in which TransNamib is the major shareholder, stated the GPT Group chairman Dwarika Prasad Tantia.
GPT was commissioned last year in September by Chief Ankama, the Deputy Minister of Works and Transport, and is the only concrete sleeper factory in Tsumeb.
“To date the factory has produced 7 000 railway sleepers for Namibia’s railway system locally. The GPT joint venture currently employs 70 workers and this might increase to 100 employees,” noted Tantia.
Tantia further stated the GPT Infraprojects has implemented projects in other African countries such as South Africa and Mozambique, while TransNamib is the chair of the Southern African Railways Association (SARA).
The factory has a great potential to serve neighbouring countries like Angola, Botswana and Zambia.
At the official opening that was held recently in Tsumeb, the Minister of Works and Transport Erkki Nghimtina said the proceedings were highlights of a business transaction that commenced last year March by the Ministry of Works and Transport and the TransNamib Board, who authorized TransNamib management to explore public-private partnership opportunities to boost the company’s revenue stream and meet increasing market challenges and demand for rail and road transport.
“Virtually all lasting structures require foundations and frequently that foundation is the most difficult, time-consuming part of construction and we have laid the foundation,” noted the works and transport minister.
“The foundation is important to build on and achieve the goals and objectives of Vision 2030. The investment in this initiative is worth it, in that the region as well as the town will reap economic and social benefits,” said Nghimtina.
“The most tangible element is job creation and I am convinced the management and staff at the factory will display the enthusiasm, pride and skill which are attributes of good business practice,” concluded Nghimtina
In addition to concrete sleepers, the company has expertise in the construction of rail tracks, concrete and steel bridges and industrial infrastructure.
At present, GPT Infraprojects is also active in healthcare business with three state-of-the-art hospitals in India. The group’s revenue last year exceeded US$125 million.
That leaves a gap of whatever km from the Ondangwa railhead in Namibia to the Chamutete railhead in Angola.
Angola has a concrete sleeper plant at Caraculo on the Southern line.
Namibia has also been using the innovative "Tubular ModularTrack" invented in South Africa, This somewhat resembles Brunel's longitudinal baulk track and is useful in sandy desert conditions,
May even be useful for bogholes !?
As noted above the 60km to the Angolian border is currently under construction.
Namibian Deputy Prime Minister Marco Hausiku has formally inaugurated the N$50 million GPT-TransNamib concrete sleeper factory, with capacity to produce 120,000 railway sleepers annually. TransNamib, Namibia GPT Infraprojects Limited, India and Dorros Investments invested approximately N$50 million in the project. According to GPT group chairman Dwarika Prasad Tantia, to date the factory has produced 7,000 sleepers for Namibia’s railway system. The GPT joint venture currently employs 70 workers and this might increase to 100.”
The GPT plant in Tsumeb was commissioned in September 2010 by Namibian Deputy Minister of Works and Transport Chief Ankama.
TransNamib is buying 100 rail wagons from China for N$48 million. Board chairman Festus Lameck concluded the deal during a recent visit to China, when he inspected the manufacturing plants of the two shortlisted companies – the Shenzen Sunray group, which has been awarded the contract, and CSR Ziyang.
TransNamib chief public relations officer Ailly Hangula-Paulino has denied reports that more locomotives are to be acquired from China. It is recalled that “major problems” were experienced with four locomotives supplied by CSR Ziyang in 2004 at a cost of N$24 million. The units are no longer in use.
Meanwhile it is reported that “questions have been raised” about the involvement of Lameck in operational issues at TransNamib, which should be the domain of the managing director.
Hangula-Paulino assured the Namibian press association (Nampa) that TransNamib chief executive officer Titus Haimbili “was not sidelined” from the day-to-day running of the parastatal. “In an apparent justification of Lameck’s involvement in the purchase of the wagons, Hangula-Paulino was quoted saying: ‘the TransNamib board is only honouring their fiduciary responsibility’.
“An earlier decision by Haimbili to dismantle the dysfunctional Chinese locomotives and sell them as scrap has also been reversed.
“TransNamib has signed an agreement with another Chinese company, Zhongs, for the supply of spare parts [for the locomotives]“, Nampa reports.
“According to Hangula-Paulino, the latest contract with the Shenzen Sunray Group makes provision for the supply of wagon spares for one year. Provision is also made for the supply of spare parts outside the 12-month guarantee, in terms of TransNamib’s procurement policy.”
A local weekly in Namibia says the purchase of the wagons is now the subject of an anti-corruption commission investigation.
Railway tender appeal fails
By: WERNER MENGES
AN attempt to stop the implementation of a major contract for the supply of rails for the Northern Railway extension project ended in a costly defeat for an unsuccessful bidder, Shetu Trading CC, in the Supreme Court on Friday.
Shetu Trading has also failed twice in the High Court with attempts to stop the delivery of rails in terms of a multi-million-dollar contract awarded to a cheaper competitor. In its latest legal defeat, its appeal against the first High Court decision which dismissed its bid to stop the delivery of rails has now been struck from the roll of the Supreme Court.
Acting Judge of Appeal Kate O’Regan, with Judge of Appeal Gerhard Maritz and Acting Judge of Appeal Pius Langa agreeing with her judgement, further ordered Shetu Trading to pay the legal costs of its opponents in the Supreme Court case.
Shetu Trading also was ordered to pay its opponents’ costs in the High Court when Judge Nate Ndauendapo initially dismissed their first urgent application in April.
A second urgent application in the High Court was also dismissed in June.
Shetu Trading was suing the Chairperson of the Tender Board of Namibia, the Minister of Works and Transport, the Permanent Secretary of Works and Transport, and VAE SA, which was awarded the rail supply contract. This was while a review application in which it is challenging the tender award remained pending in the High Court.
The appeal was dismissed based on a finding by Judge O’Regan that the decision made by Judge Ndauendapo was not appealable because Shetu Trading’s application for an urgent interdict to stop the delivery of the rails did not meet the requirements for the matter to be heard on an urgent basis. Because Judge Ndauendapo did not deal with the merits of the case, his decision “did not close the doors of the High Court” to Shetu Trading, and did not definitively determine the close corporation’s rights, Judge O’Regan found.
“It thus lacked the element of finality necessary to constitute a ‘judgement or order’ and is therefore not appealable, even with leave,” she said in the court’s judgement.
The bid which the Tender Board received from VAE SA, which is a South African subsidiary of an Austrian company that manufactures railway infrastructure, including rails, was in a total amount of about N$189,2 million. It was the lowest of six bids received.
Shetu Trading offered to supply the rails to Government at a cost of about N$217 million - more than N$27,8 million more expensive than VAE SA’s tender price.
Shetu Trading has been claiming that the process that led to the contract being awarded to VAE SA was marred by “gross irregularities”, with tender procedures allegedly not followed to the rule and inaccurate information allegedly supplied to the Tender Board.
The Tender Board decided on August 30 last year to award the contract to VAE SA.
In Friday’s judgement Judge O’Regan extended some advice to High Court judges. She remarked that it would advance the cause of clarity if judges, when they decide that it has not been established that a case should be heard as a matter of urgency, and as a result do not go on to consider the merits of a case, strike such an application from the court roll rather than issuing an order that the application had been “dismissed”.
The SADC Protocol on Transport Communication and Meteorology from which SARA (Southern African Railway Association (SARA) draws its mandate and legitimacy calls for the integration of services for railways to be able to offer seamless, efficient and cost effective services.
According to media statement issued by TransNamib regarding the recently held SARA Railway conference and exhibition which was held under the theme "Revitalising Railway Services through Innovation in Southern Africa" in Midrand, South Africa, the protocol provides a clear framework through which the regional railway industry can be developed.
Speaking at the conference, SARA's president Titus Haimbili said SARA continues to exert its efforts towards improvement of railway performance and development of the railway industry in SADC.
"We are driven by the desire to occupy our economic space as mandated by the SADC Protocol on Transport Communication and Meteorology fully cognisant of the integral social and economic rolls the railways are expected to play," he said.
In the quest to find solutions for the current challenges confronting regional railways, Haimbili said the association will continue to provide the platform for key stakeholders to meet and address those issues that matter to the railway business, and also take positive steps to implement conference resolution.
"The specific objectives of the rail conference are to highlight the state of railways in SADC focusing on operations, infrastructure and equipment, technology, safety and environment, transport policy," said Haimbili.
on November 15, 2011 in Namibia
During 2001, TransNamib began complete reconstruction of the railway that extends some 310km from Luderitz on the Atlantic coast to the junction (at Seeheim North) with the main north-south line running down from Windhoek and beyond. For more than ten years, the route has remained inoperable. The rebuilding project includes a section where the patented tubular track has been laid, being especially suited to desert conditions and blown sand. This activity has been reported extensively in Railways Africa.
In recent years, progress came to a virtual standstill.
It is understood that material to complete the work has been received but has yet to be moved on site.
There is talk of a hoped-for new completion date of 2013. The inoperable railway severely hampers the efficiency of the port at Luderitz
CABINET will meet today to discuss the poor state of the national rail network, which has caused four train derailments in the last month.
Cabinet commissioned a study in 2008 to establish the cost of rehabilitating the entire rail network, and Ministry of Works Permanent Secretary George Simataa said yesterday that when the study was done in 2009 it estimated that N$7 billion would be needed for the project.
Simataa said while Government was securing funding for the rehabilitation of the network, other things came into play. Simataa did not disclose what these things were.
Since November 17 three trains have derailed between Otjiwarongo and Walvis Bay and one train has derailed between Windhoek and Otjiwarongo.
Simataa said yesterday that a report on the recent train derailments had been compiled and submitted to Cabinet and will be discussed today.
Local media reported yesterday that TransNamib had requested Works Minister Erkki Nghimtina to ask Cabinet to intervene.
According to a statement released by TransNamib spokesperson Ailly Hangula-Paulino on Thursday, the company's management had met to discuss the recent derailments between Otjiwarongo and Walvis Bay.
A technical team has cited the condition of the railway line, environmental conditions, speeding and tight curves as causes for the derailments
Last Friday TransNamib chief executive officer Titus Haimbili travelled to the scene of an accident as the head of a task force to familiarise themselves with the severity of the situation.
Simataa said a systematic rehabilitation of the entire national railroad system is needed, as the infrastructure was built in the 1950s. No fewer than eight freight trains use the line between Tsumeb and Walvis Bay daily.
It is reported that 400 km of rail between Kranzberg and Tsumeb needs to be repaired, which will cost about N$4 million per kilometre.
An additional N$1 million will be needed to clean up two areas where fuel spills have polluted the environment.
TransNamib has imposed speed restrictions on the Kranzberg-Tsumeb line, and on the section between Erundu and Otjiwarongo the speed limit is further reduced to 15 kilometres per hour.
A safety inspection trolley also checks the line daily before any freight train uses the 100km section from Otjiwarongo to Omaruru.
DORROS Investments has cashed in on Namibia's rail development, partnering with TransNamib and Indian company GPT Infraprojects to establish a factory at Tsumeb to manufacture concrete railway sleepers.
Owned by Shafa Kaulinge, David Ipinge and George Kamati, Dorros Investments received a loan from the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) for constructing the factory, purchasing machinery and for working capital.
"The different individuals involved in Dorros are all entrepreneurs in their own right, and came together for this opportunity," Kaulinge said.
The partners had a common interest to penetrate the local railway sector and decided to join forces, out of which Dorros Investments was born.
"We had to be real with ourselves, about why we wanted to start a business, and to ask ourselves whether our passion can withstand a reality that may not always be all roses, both financially and emotionally", said Kaulinge.
The factory manufactures sleepers needed to upgrade and extend sections of the Namibian rail network. The sleepers are produced according to specifications by TransNamib, which is also the main client.
Although it is expected that 80 per cent of the products will be used locally, the factory is looking to create markets in the rest of the southern African region.
The factory, which has been in operation since July 2011, is projected to produce 500 sleepers per day, translating to 150 000 annually, with an expected annual growth of five per cent.
The factory currently employs 74 people, of whom 64 are men and ten are women, and hopes to increase this number over the years, when the factory is expected to diversify and produce other products as well.
"In five years time we hope to be producing more concrete products besides concrete sleepers, such as window lintels, culverts and paving bricks."
GPT, which holds the expertise in sleeper manufacturing, aims to train Namibians in the use of equipment, as understudies, and to incorporate them in the production process in time. This is in order to prepare Namibians to be able to fully take over the manufacturing process once the contract comes to an end.
Kaulinge said the factory has had some challenges owing to the delay of spare parts ordered from South Africa. "These are minor issues that we are sorting out and we are confident that we will overcome these challenges."
Kaulinge advises prospective entrepreneurs to start businesses for the right reason, understand the level of commitment required and to examine their traits, which they will need to align to the sort of business that they decide to go into.
"It is not easy, forget about nine to five and be prepared to work many hours a day. As many entrepreneurs testify, starting your own business is like giving birth, and the baby will need attention 24 hours a day, at even what one would term as the most absurd times," Kaulinge said.
TransNamib has ordered 100 wagons from China’s Shenzhen Sunray group for N$48m.
.NAMIBIAN CABINET DISCUSSES RAIL CRISIS
on January 31, 2012 in Namibia
During December 20111, the Namibian cabinet held a special meeting to discuss what was described in the press as the railway “crisis”, following four derailments that cost the country “millions”. Ministry of works permanent secretary George Simataa was quoted explaining that the entire Nanibian rail system – last reconstructed in the nineteen-fifties – requires upgrading. A commission was established in 2009 to look into the implications and in particular the projected cost – which was foreseen to be in the region of M$7 billion. “Other matters” came into the picture and the process of finding funding did not proceed.
Every day, an average of eight freight trains use the line between Tsumeb and Walvis Bay. According to technical reports, the rails between Kranzberg and Tsumeb (400km) need to be replaced, at an estimated cost of N$4 million per kilometre. Speed restrictions are in place along this entire length.
Fuel spills at various points are said to have polluted the environment. At least N$1 million is needed to carry out cleaning operations.
Every day, a safety inspection trolley checks the line from Otjiwarongo to Omaruru (137km) before a train traverses the section. Between Erundu and Otjiwarongo (32km), a speed limit of 15km/h applies.
on January 31, 2012 in Mishaps Africa
According to TransNamib, the company’s management is seriously concerned about recent derailments between Otjiwarongo and Walvis Bay. Since mid-November there have been three such incidents, while a fourth train derailed between Windhoek and Otjiwarongo. Technical inspections suggest that the condition of the line, including some “tight” curves, coupled with speed, is responsible for the accidents, and a report has been compiled and submitted to cabinet.
TransNamib has ordered 100 wagons from China’s Shenzhen Sunray group for N$48m.
FYI, 48'000'000 Namibia Dollar = 5'847'515 Australian Dollar
FYI, 100 waggons at 58,475 Australian Dollars each
THE walkover of Trans-Namib general manager Dawie Moller to D&M Rail Construction did not come as a surprise to employees of the national carrier. Moller, until August 2010 was Regional Engineer: Infrastructure North and Central Areas at TransNamib.
According to a former railway inspector at Trans-Namib, the management of the parastatal had long been alerted to the conduct of senior engineers allegedly linked to D&M Tracks.
Claims of conflict of interest are being made against employees linked to D&M Tracks at Trans-Namib, most of whom were in the division that deals with the setting up of the railway maintenance programmes.
The allegations of close connections between D&M Tracks and senior engineers at TransNamib come in the wake of the company having been awarded the N$150 million repair job of the 400 km stretch of rail between Kranzberg and Tsumeb without any competing tenders. The company had been given preference by Ministry of Works and Transport bypassing procedures of inviting public bids for the job.
TransNamib Chief Corporate Communication Officer Aily Hangula-Paulino said that D&M Tracks was only contracted to work on a section between Kranzberg and Okahandja in 1996/1997.
It is alleged that senior engineers at Trans-Namib neglected their work and ensured that it be outsourced to D&M Tracks.
It is this conduct, D&M critics say, that might have contributed to the demise of TransNamib’s rail maintenance section and it becoming too reliant on government bailouts.
Moller is said to have denied these links for years while he was in the employ of TransNamib.
Moller dismissed claims linking him to D&M Tracks in the past, saying he is an “honest man”. He further said D&M Tracks was a “one-man show”.
“All I can say is that this is total smeg. These are materials [rails] that were put there in 1950s and ‘60s and the deterioration cannot be caused by one person. Anybody can come and inspect the railway lines. The materials are outdated,” Moller said.
“And do you know what the D&M stands for? He questioned. “It stands for Des and his wife Amanda. These people don’t know what they are talking about,” Moller said.
D&M Tracks was formed in 1995 by Des Taylor, also a former employee of TransNamib, before it became D&M Rail Construction in 2010 when majority shareholding was taken over by BEE businessmen James Hatuikulipi and John Walenga.
In his motivation to Cabinet to award the multimillion-dollar contract to D&M Rail, the Minister of Works and Transport, Erkki Nghimtina, said the contract should be granted without tender to the company because of “a remarkable job” it had done on the Ondangwa-Oshikango rail project.
D&M Rail was awarded the job against a Tender Board resolution that at least two more quotations be sourced from other companies, despite the ministry having selected it for the job already.
Des Taylor, now tracks manager at D&M Rail, contradicted this, saying: “D&M Tracks was only contracted by TransNamib to do relaying work of the new line between Albrecht and Karibib, a line of about 10 kilometres.”
Taylor is said to have resigned from TransNamib in 1994 after it became clear that he had South African citizenship as he was initially based at Walvis Bay while it was still a South African enclave.
It is alleged that before the creation of D&M Tracks, TransNamib had mobile maintenance teams totalling about 100 employees that carried out railway network inspections every three months.
Hangula-Paulino said the Namibian railway service had three mobile teams for the northern and central regions when it was still part of the South African Transport Services (Spoornet).
“However these teams were dismantled in the late 1980s. It is worth mentioning that, apart from the emergency teams which are based in most of the towns countrywide, TransNamib still has mobile relaying teams which are doing most of the major projects within the railway network.”
Hangula-Paulino maintained that TransNamib still has the capacity to maintain all the railway infrastructure in the country, adding that the division of civil engineering has teams which maintain the railway network.
“These teams are based in most of the towns to ensure that any section of railway line is attended to as promptly as possible. Since D&M Tracks was contracted in the mid 1990s, TransNamib has never again outsourced the maintenance work to any company.”
.STRIKE CRIPPLES TRANSNAMIB
on February 14, 2012 in Namibia
On 2 February, industrial action which began in Walvis Bay spread to other stations, halting train operations. There was no clarity on exactly how many trains did not operate. According to employees, wage negotiations have been proceeding on and off since 2006 without reaching any acceptable solution. Adjustments implemented late in 2011, and again more recently, were regarded as unfair and illogical. Recently appointed staff allegedly received sustantially more than those with long service. Requests to management for explanations reportedly went unanswered.
TransNamib chief corporate communications officer Ailly Hangula-Paulino told The Namibian that the effect of the strike was nationwide
.WINDHOEK-KEETMANSHOOP RAILWAY TURNS 100
on March 22, 2012 in Namibia
During the year 1910, work began on constructing a railway from Windhoek to Keetmanshoop in Deutsche SÃ¼d Wes-Africa, now Namibia. The contractors were the Betriebskonsortium Bachstein & Koppelfrom and Deutsche Kolonial Eisenban Bau- und Betriebsgesellschaft. One company started from Keetmanshoop and the other in Windhoek, the two meeting at Narib, 210km from Windhoek and 295km from Keetmanshoop. Altogether more than 5,500 people were employed on the project. The completed line was opened on 3 March 1912.
Construction included the provision of 16 stations, equipped to supply the steam locomotives with water and coal. The stations were named Aris, Leutwein, Bergland, Rehoboth, Heide, Tsumis, Kalkrand, Narib, Salzbrunn, Mariental, Orab, Gibeon, Asab, Brukkaros, Tses and Itzawisis. Over the years, towns developed around some of these, notably Mariental, Rehoboth and Kalkrand. The completion of the line meant that there was now a continuous rail network from the port of LÃ¼deritz in the south to Otavi in the north, as well as the connection to Swakopmund, also on the coast.
Steam traction lasted until 1959, when diesel-electrics were brought in. Until the nineteen-eighties, through main-line sleeping-car trains operated between Windhoek and South Africaâ€™s De Aar, from where connections were available to most parts of the country