Sojitz Corporation


Receipt of Order for Renewal of Commuter Train Drive Units

Oct. 9, 2003

TOKYO(as of October 9, 2003)--Nissho Iwai Corporation, in collaboration with Hitachi, Ltd., has been awarded a contract to renew the drive units of the twenty four '8M type commuter trains' (a train comprising of four cars) which were delivered to the South African Rail Commuter Corporation Limited during 1987 - 1990 by Nissho Iwai and Hitachi.

With Nissho Iwai as the main contractor, and Hitachi responsible for the manufacture and delivery of rolling stock electrical equipment, local companies took charge of manufacture and delivery of train bodies and bogies through a technical collaboration with Hitachi for '8M type commuter trains' which are currently in operation for commuting purposes, mainly in Cape Town in South Africa.

Renewal of the rolling stock drive units, for which the contract has been awarded, involves change of the device which controls speed and torque through controlling voltage to the train drive motor, from a type of device which used traditional semiconductors (thyristors) to one using the latest semiconductors (IGBT: Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors). This change aims not only at reducing size and weight, saving energy and improving reliability, but also at extending the life of the rolling stock.

As a result of increases in population along railway lines, the railway rolling stock market in African countries, including South Africa, are required to take measures to enhance transport capacity, and to implement reductions in maintenance costs. For decaying rolling stock, however, renewal demands are the mainstream due to overall economic stagnation, which demands are to improve and remodel the rolling stock currently in use. Thus, demand for newly manufactured rolling stock is declining.

Since around 1970, Nissho Iwai has delivered more than 800 units of rolling stock to the railway markets in African countries, of which approximately 250 units were delivered to South Africa. In African countries such as the Congo and Sudan, as well as South Africa, there are currently a number of plans to renew the rolling stock electrical equipment that was delivered by both companies. Utilizing their knowledge of rolling stock characteristics as a strength, both companies will aggressively work on renewal projects through introduction of the latest technology.

Taking into consideration the African country national budgets which will be allocated to railway infrastructure, both companies will seek to cooperate with their public financial institutions and provide financial cooperation, and will aim to increase rolling stock renewal order receipts in African countries.

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