The six-axle ac traction TE33A was developed by GE Transportation from its ES44ACi for the North American market. The locomotives have been built in large numbers for Kazakhstan Railways (KTZ) at LKZ's plant in Astana, which opened in 2009 and has capacity to produce up to 100 units per year.

In addition to the locomotives for KTZ, LKZ has supplied TE33As to customers in Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Ukraine. Earlier this year one of the locomotives underwent trials with Polish broad-gauge operator PKP LHS.