Huawei, SARA partner to transform SADC rail network


Guo Guoqing, Li Mingqun, Babe Botana and Agostinho Francisco Langa Júnior

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – HUAWEI and the Southern African Railways Association (SARA) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the transformation of the region’s railway transport and corridor logistics.

The non-exclusive framework of cooperation is to enable seamless, efficient, smooth, cost-effective and quality railway corridor services on all SARA corridors.

The MOU, signed at SARA’s annual exhibition and conference, is designed to help address an urgent need in the railway space to make railways smarter, safer, more visualised, more efficient, and more reliable.

Guo Guoqing, President of Huawei Sub-Saharan Africa Enterprise Business explained, “Success in the railway industry depends on safety, reliability, and affordability, with both operators and its customers expecting flawless service – but this requires future-proofed communications networks based on single technology among all the rail operators.”

As part of the agreement, Huawei will assist in identifying and recommending minimum regional ICT railway standards, enhancing the train control technology and providing the various parties with access to a shared database, which will enable the reduction of inefficiencies and disruptions in the rail corridor supply chain.

That includes moving away from the current GSM-R standard. With its narrow 4 MHz bandwidth, GSM-R capacity is not large enough to meet requirements for a better railway of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

GSM-R’s eco system is falling down quickly globally.

SARA President Agostinho Francisco Langa Júnior, noted Future Railway Mobile Communication (FRMCS) is pivotal for the genuine digital transformation of railways.

“To achieve a truly integrated regional railway system, it’s crucial for our region to standardise based FRMCS on a single technology,” he said in his opening speech.

With the standard reaching the end of its life cycle, Huawei is supporting the move to its successor, FRMCS, allowing for a faster transformation to a more digital, intelligent, and green rail network in the SADC region.

For SARA member railway networks, this will result in better security, smarter contracts, improved corridor management and real time asset tracking of freight and cargo, and ultimately the enhanced competitiveness of railway services.

“One tech makes one rail, one rail makes one Africa, Huawei has been in Africa for 25 years and its ongoing contribution to ICT technology for Africa underpins the pivotal role of ICT infrastructure to the regional, and indeed, global, railway industry,” said Li Mingqun, Managing Director of Huawei Sub-Saharan Africa Transportation Business.

Huawei has been an active supplier of ICT solutions to railway and metro customers since 1996. The company’s digital railway solution is deployed on more than 150 000km of railway lines around the world.

Combining digitisation and intelligent technology is an opportunity to boost the development of the African transportation industry, said Vice President of the Aviation and Rail BU, Huawei, Xiang Xi.

“As new technologies are introduced to replace the old, the railway industry requires innovative mobile communication systems. Huawei is leveraging ICT technology to better serve the railway sector in the region,” Xi said.

The Chinese-headquartered company has made more than 3 000 contributions to industry standards.

– CAJ News

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