It was noted in a written statement issued by the Indonesian Embassy in Pretoria and received here on Friday.
"African nations have begun viewing the railway industry as not only a solution for mass and freight transportation but also as a medium to boost intra-African trade. This opens opportunities for our industries to further enter and participate in the African development," Indonesian Ambassador to South Africa Salman Al Farisi remarked.
Africa Rail is the largest railway exhibition in Africa. At its 22nd expo, this event brought together some 125 exhibitors and six thousand visitors, comprising decision makers, operators, regulators, and procurement managers from different nations.
This year, renowned companies in the railway industry taking part in the exhibition comprised CRRC Corporation Limited, Oracle Construction and Engineering, Voith, Transnet, GE, Progress Rail, KNORR, and Luchini.
Operators, including the procurement team, that gathered this year included Botswana Railways, DRC, Ghana Railways, TransNamib, and Uganda Railways. INKA’s participation is part of the company’s efforts to penetrate the African market that holds enormous potential following the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) coming into effect.
In May 2019, some 22 African countries ratified the AfCFTA, and the agreement has been officially implemented. Under the free trade agreement, African nations have committed to slashing tariffs on 90 percent of goods for boosting intra-African trade.
Simultaneously, African Union (AU), a regional organization in charge of AfCFTA, also launched a railroad revitalization program in Africa through the AU 2040 Vision. Road maps encompass efforts to close the connectivity gap across the continent and development of a high-speed railroad network that connects all African capitals and commercial centers in Africa.
Hartono from PT INKA's Corporate Communication emphasized that in the midst of dynamic competition between train and wagon manufacturers across the world, PT INKA provides dependable quality products and after-sales services.
"Our participation for the first time at this Africa Rail exhibition is expected to open the next opportunity after we succeeded in exporting our products to Bangladesh, the Philippines, Singapore, Australia, and Malaysia," Hartono stated.
PT INKA's after-sales services include providing experts that are dedicated to buyers to ascertain the smooth operations of the train and wagon, which in the long term, will empower local human resources and facilitate the transfer of technology.
At the exhibition, the Indonesian Embassy in Pretoria coordinated meetings between PT INKA and several South African firms, including Transnet and domestic train operator PRASA.
Both companies expressed interest in INKA’s products and look forward to the possibility of future cooperation. At the exhibition, PT INKA also managed to obtain preliminary information on possible cooperation with companies from Mozambique, Nigeria, Botswana, and Zambia.
The Indonesian government has stepped up efforts to penetrate non-traditional markets, including Africa. In the railway industry, the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises initiated the establishment of the Indonesia Railway Development Consortium (IRDC) comprising several related SOEs, such as PT. INKA, Waskita Karya, PT. LEN, and KAI.
The consortium is projected to be a one-stop solution in marketing railway facilities and infrastructure in the international market, including the operation, maintenance, and funding aspects.
PT INKA's success in producing and marketing its passenger trains and wagons has driven the company to expand its production capacity by building a new factory in Banyuwangi, East Java.
Construction of new production facilities is expected to meet the demand for railway facilities for foreign markets. Banyuwangi was selected as the new location owing to its port access and the availability of human resources to support the operation of the company.
Related news: PT Inka delivers first batch of train export to Bangladesh
Related news: Indonesia's railway industry can become global player: minister
Related news: Three state firms synergize to export rail pads to Philippines