Wabtec Lands VLI Locomotive ContractWritten by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
Logistics firm VLI has selected Wabtec to supply nine Evolution Series (ES43BBl) locomotives to support cargo transport on the Ferrovia Centro-Atlântica (FCA) in Brazil. The order is valued at approximately R$200 million (US$38.4 million), Wabtec reported March 1.
The first locomotives are slated to be delivered in about 18 months. They will help meet the increased demand for cargo transport in VLI’s Central-East corridor, through which freight from the steel industry and agribusiness, plus coal, fertilizers, fuel and cellulose are shipped toward the port system of Espírito Santo, according to Wabtec. Those shipments include a recently signed 30-year contract with LD Cellulose to transport dissolving pulp, Wabtec noted. VLI will move 500,000 tons of material produced in the Triângulo Mineiro to the port of Barra do Riacho (ES) each year.
The ES43BBi heavy-haul locomotives on order are specifically designed for 1,000-mm gauge railways in Brazil, according to Wabtec, which last summer celebrated 60 years of locomotive production in that country. Each is equipped with a 12-cylinder, 4500-hp Evolution Series engine and eight powered axles. Along with the Evolutions Series engine, the ES43BBi offers an AC-traction system with individual axle control and articulated trucks, reported the manufacturer, which noted that the locomotive includes a redesigned air-to-air system and extra blowers directly integrated onto the traction motors. Also onboard is Wabtec’s RailConnect™ 360 software, including Trip Optimizer, LOCOTROL® Distributed Power System, PTC, and PTC 2.0. More than 50 locomotives of this model are already operating in Brazil.
“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 Latin America Region. “Given the challenges posed by the metric gauge and national logistics, Wabtec combined VLI’s needs with the most innovative AC locomotive technology.”
“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,” said Fábio Marchiori, interim CEO of VLI and director of Finance, Supply Chain and Company Services. “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.”
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, according to Wabtec. The current port operation is concentrated in the Praia Mole, Granéis Líquidos and Produtos Diversos, installed in the Complexo Portuário de Tubarão.