Wellington, July 22 NZPA - Orders for 20 new DK-class locomotives in New Zealand -- the first new locomotives to serve on the local rail network in more than two decades -- have contributed to a bumper year for China's CNR Corporation Ltd (CNR).
The Government's rail operator KiwiRail said in March that it had awarded a $75 million contract to China's CNR Loric Import and Export Corporation for the 2700kW diesel-electric locomotives.
CNR Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock has signed a deal to manufacture the engines -- which will be the most powerful on New Zealand's tracks -- and the first six will be delivered in May next year, the China Daily reported today. The remainder are due in August 2010. The newspaper reported the first half of 2009 had proved a bumper period for the company, a leading manufacturer of railway equipment in China, with a huge surge in orders from overseas customers.
In the first half of the year alone, CNR signed export contracts worth $US660m ($NZ1023m).
Zhao Guangxing, the company's chief executive, said its policy of "going global" had paid dividends.
Last year the then state owned enterprises (SOE) minister Trevor Mallard said it might be possible to buy the locomotives as components and assemble them in New Zealand.
But the National Party -- then in opposition -- criticised the plan as "an idea from the 1950s" which it claimed could waste taxpayer money.
The locomotives are not New Zealand's first rail import from China: in October 2007 CNR was awarded a contract to supply 24 wagons and a further 100 ore hopper wagons were delivered in January 2008.
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