The first 10 locomotives will be built in China before production transfers to South Africa.

CSR is a 70% partner in the consortium, which will be known as CSR E-loco Supply, with local partner Matsetse Basadi owning the remaining 30%. CSR E-loco Supply will deliver the locomotives between December 2013 and September 2014. The locomotives will be used by Transnet Freight Rail's (TFR) general freight business.

Speaking at the official signing of the tender at Transnet Freight Rail's depot in Pretoria, South Africa's public enterprises minister Mr Malusi Gigaba said the award followed an open and public tender process which drew interest from the world's leading electric locomotive manufacturers.

Transnet is procuring 599 electric locomotives and 465 diesels as part of its ambitious Rand 300bn seven-year investment programme.