ASTANA – Alstom, the French multinational rail transport company, started delivering Kazakh-produced Prima T8 electric locomotives to Azerbaijan in late December. Capital-based Electric Locomotives Assembly Factory (EKZ) plans to produce 40 freight locomotives for the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars regional railway link operated by Azerbaijan Railways.
Launched in 2012, the EKZ plant is the result of a strategic partnership among Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ), Alstom and Transmashholding, the Russian engineering and train manufacturer, Julien Naudy, Alstom General Director for the EKZ factory said in an interview for this story. The plant is located on 8.7 hectares in the Astana Industrial Park.
Alstom’s projects include supplying 295 locomotives to KTZ – 200 freight and 95 passenger. It is also providing 40 freight and 10 passenger locomotives to Azerbaijan.
“The main objective of the company is to execute the contract that we have. The first priority of our activity is to provide good quality products in due time for our customers,” said Naudy.
Last year, Alstom launched additional production of on-board transformers for electric locomotives at the EKZ plant. The production capacity of the line is expected to be 300 transformers per year, with 100 employees working at full capacity. The plant is one of the main economic drivers and a hub for producing and exporting locomotives to the region.
“The start of this new production line demonstrates our solid and long-term partnership with Kazakhstan. We are proud to contribute to Kazakhstan’s machinery-building industry through localisation of technology and production, creation of new working places and training for local personnel,” he said.
EKZ plans to reach 50 percent of local content by the end of 2025.
“There are two ways to localise production. The first way is to work with Kazakh industrial partners and the second way is to develop in-house activities. In this way, we inaugurated our own workshop to assemble the on-board transformers last year. It is a new activity in Kazakhstan, because it is a high-technological product. We are proud to bring this technology to Kazakhstan. As for industrial partners, we already work with several Kazakh partners to develop the activity. That is one of the main challenges that will come in the next two or three years – how to develop the local industrial competencies to be part of the game,” he added.
Naudy emphasised customer satisfaction is essential.
“Alstom has an ambitious goal to be part of the development of the new Silk Road. The first step was to have an industrial base, based in Kazakhstan, in Central Asia and assemble locomotives for the country. The second step was to supply locomotives to Azerbaijan. With the support of our customers in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, the next steps will be to provide transportation solutions to other neighbouring countries like Georgia, Ukraine, Iraq and Uzbekistan,” he said.
Alstom has more than 600 employees in Kazakhstan with two joint ventures and two facilities including the EKZ plant for locomotive manufacturing and maintenance in the capital and a point machine manufacturing plant in Almaty.