Transnet placed an order with CNR (now part of CRRC) and its local south African consortium CNR RSSA for 232 class 45-000s in March 2014 as part of a broader procurement of 1064 locomotives, which are being supplied by four manufacturers.

The first 20 locomotives are being built in China by CRRC Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock, while the remaining 212 units will be assembled at Transnet Rail Engineering's workshop in Durban under the supervision of CRRC. Deliveries are due to be completed in 2019.

MTU is supplying 232 MTU Series 4000 diesel engines for the fleet under a €100m contract awarded in January 2015. The type 20V 4000 R63L power units will have an output of 3.3MW and are the most powerful locomotive engines in MTU's range.