GE is taking Caterpillar on in the race to develop
locomotives that comply with stricter emissions standards.
These locomotives are typically used for the heavy and long
distance haulage seen right across the mining industry.
It comes as the US tightens its emission standards, and sets
a compliance deadline for next year.
According to The Wall Street Journal, GE is already testing
its locomotives that comply with the new standards whilst Cat’s compliant
freight locomotives are unlikely to be available until 2017.
GE has reportedly designed its latest locomotive with an
emissions reduction system and expects to begin full scale production of the
machines mid next year.
“We’ve got units operating so we can demonstrate
performance,” Tina Donikowski, GE’s locomotive vice president, told WSJ.
The move is likely to be a blow for Cat, particularly as GE
already holds more than two thirds of the US market, while Cat’s ElectroMotive
sees only around 30 per cent of its sales come from overseas, although this
figure does equate to US$2.5 billion.
In 2012 ElectroMotive signed an agreement to provide Fortescue with 19 new locomotives for its Pilbara operations, and signed a $292
million contract with BHP to supply Model SD70ACe/LCi locomotives for the next three years.
According to GE it currently has 173 locomotives running across 1500 kilometres of rail network in the PIlbara, with each train itself approximately 2.4 kilometres long and consisting of 236 wagons that carry all up 26 000 tonnes of ore.