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GE, Transnet team up to invest in Africa’s digital space, transport

Two global players, GE, premier digital industrial company, and Transnet, Africa’s most developed rail and ports operator have signaled fresh plan to partner on digitizing Africa’s transport sector.

The new deal is coming on the heels of desire to deliver a digital solution that will seamlessly connect shippers and transport operators, making it dramatically easier for a company to understand pricing and capacity on the network, plan a shipment, and get their goods to market.

Statistics show that every day, 13 thousand containers and 620 thousand tons of goods critical to Africa’s economy are delivered by Transnet as Africa’s intracontinental trade has nearly doubled since 1995, and the increasing volume of goods moving through the supply chain is creating transportation and logistical complexities that slow down shipments.

The digital solution will be enabled by Predix, the operating system for GE’s Industrial Internet or Internet of Things (IOT).

Delivery specifications indicate that Predix will connect shippers and transport operators by providing real-time, data-driven insights on the status of shipments. It takes laborious processes, like payment, customs and inspection, from paper to digital, and creates an on-demand solution for transporting freight inspired by consumer on-demand transportation models

Reports by the CNBC Africa revealed that GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt who spoke at the Gordon Institute of Business Science said, “The digital opportunity for industry is now”.

 “At GE, we have embraced data and analytics, and see it as a driving force transforming our operations and those of our customers globally,” he continued.

 “This planned digital partnership with Transnet will be another step forward in how we can work together to improve Africa’s Transport sector, delivering efficiency and productivity.”

In his remarks, Transnet’s Group Chief Executive, Siyabonga Gama said this is another first for the GE and Transnet partnership that continues to deliver value to South Africa’s growth strategy – the National Development Plan.

He added that “This digital solution will be key in optimizing freight efficiency and bringing products to market faster and for less cost across the continent.  The cost of moving goods from point A to point B is very high and it is passed onto the end customer, impeding Africa’s ability to be competitive in pricing.”

The planned partnership will further strengthen the already existing relationship that the two companies enjoy, through leveraging on Transnet’s domain experience and expertise with the established GE digital knowledge.

Three years ago, GESAT and Transnet signed an export agreement to jointly manufacture locomotives in South Africa and sell to the rest of Africa.

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