Ministry close to securing palm oil-for-locomotives deal
13 March 2001 (Business Times) -The Transport Ministry is believed to beclose to securing a counter-trade deal with the US involving the exchangeof palm oil for 20 high-powered diesel-electric General ElectricInternational (GE) locomotives.
The locomotives are being procured as part of KTM Bhd's programme todouble-track its Peninsula rail network and negotiations are in theirfinal stages, sources told Business Times.
It is not immediately known how much the locomotives cost but the sourcessaid they are probably 20-30 per cent costlier than those produced byIndia which are currently widely used in Malaysia.
"The (American) locomotives can be used to ferry both passengers andcargo," they said.
Deputy Primary Industries Minister Datuk Anifah Aman had said last weekthat the Government was looking at entering into billion-ringgit dealswith the US, China and India to pay for locomotives and double-trackingrail contracts in palm oil.
Malaysia hopes to see its palm oil make further inroads into the US oilsand fats market, and a counter-trade arrangement for the commodity will bein line with such efforts, he said.
The GE Universal Series of diesel-electric locomotives feature a widerange of configurations for various gauges, axle loads and horsepoweroutput.
They are powered by the GE7FDL diesel engine with either DC/DC or AC/DCpropulsion systems.
GE has a locomotive manufacturing plant in Madiun, East Java, called PT GELokomotif Indonesia (PT GE Lokindo).
The facility assembles the C20i 2000HP loco-motive, mainly for the Aseanmarket, and has to date delivered 24 units to Philippine and Indonesianrailway operators.
GE's locomotives are operated in more than 60 countries.
Meanwhile, the Government is understood to have invited the participationof Chinese and Indian companies in the double-tracking project on acounter-trade basis.
The northern portion of the rail network has been packaged for bids by theIndians and the south by the Chinese, the sources said.
The project was mooted in 1988 but so far double tracks have been laidonly between Rawang and Seremban, and Sentul, Kuala Lumpur and Port Klang.