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Concrete progress: Colossal Concrete Products reopens De Aar plant, boosts revival of rail and infrastructure development

Colossal Concrete Products, a Level 1 B-BBEE company and the largest manufacturer of railway sleepers in Southern Africa, with a proud 64-year track record, reopened its mothballed De Aar factory in October. This move follows the recent conclusion of a 1-year contract with Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) to supply precast concrete railway sleepers for the national freight rail network upgrade.

The De Aar facility is strategically located in the Northern Cape, near crucial railway junctions connecting Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Kimberley lines. Through its reopening, the company aims to provide a much-needed boost to the regional economy by creating jobs and additional manufacturing and supply opportunities. The company is now in a position to reach its inherent capacity, with the production of over 1 million railway sleepers per annum.

According to CEO Gwen Mahuma-Madida, infrastructure development is essential for economic growth, and Colossal Concrete Products is well-positioned to contribute to this in South Africa and beyond. The company has experienced substantial growth over the past two years and expanded its market share both domestically and internationally. This growth was further boosted by the 2021 acquisition of Aveng Infraset’s Brakpan and De Aar facilities, known for their rail, telecommunications, civil engineering, and specialized precast concrete manufacturing capabilities.

The De Aar facility had been mothballed before the 2021 acquisition, and the TFR contract played a significant role in its reopening. Plans are also underway to acquire an adjoining property in De Aar to expand into the renewable energy sector, particularly in supplying products like precast wind turbine towers.

Job creation is a central focus of the facility’s reopening, with about fifty jobs expected to be generated. The company gives preference to rehiring former employees in similar positions.

The company’s 64-year track record in supplying precast products in various sectors, including rail, telecommunications, civil engineering, and mining, played a vital role in the decision to acquire Aveng Infraset’s Brakpan and De Aar plants. Colossal Concrete Products is recognized internationally for its innovation and diverse concrete sleeper production, offering over 40 rail-related products, in addition to other precast concrete products like culverts, poles, masts, and plans for manufacturing wind turbine towers.

With plans to consolidate the manufacture of all turnout sleepers in De Aar and ongoing investment in research and development, Colossal aims to maintain its leadership position in the industry.

The company is also committed to expanding its presence in Africa, working on Pan-African rail projects and exploring opportunities to establish new manufacturing plants in neighboring countries.

Colossal’s De Aar plant is positioned to contribute not only to the renewable energy sector but also to fill the void left by the closure of companies serving the construction sector in the Northern Cape. The company plans to resume marketing its products to the civil engineering and construction sector, which has been forced to import precast products from other regions.

In conclusion, Colossal Concrete Products is dedicated to the future of rail and infrastructure development in South Africa and the African continent, aiming to be a key player in moving these initiatives forward. CEO Gwen Mahuma-Madida expresses pride in the company’s role in these endeavors.


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