Original Article as found on Railways Africa – Vanrail – Export Strategy

Vanrail was founded in 1992 as Van Heerden Enterprises by recently retired director, Andries van Heerden. For much of the past 26 years Vanrail has been the dominant manufacturer of air and vacuum brake hose assemblies in South Africa.

“Our future growth has to come from markets outside of South Africa and to this end we have been actively pursuing an export strategy since 2015. In recent years up to 25% of our annual sales has been sold outside of South Africa. Recently this has included countries such as Ivory Coast, Gabon, Congo Brazzaville, DRC, Kenya, Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, Australia and Saudi Arabia.” says Stuart Scott, Vanrail Sales and Engineering Director.

In light of this strategy, Vanrail will once again be promoting their range of air and vacuum brake hose assemblies and associated products at the upcoming Innotrans exhibition, held in Berlin, Germany from the 18-21st September.

“Having learnt from our 2016 Innotrans experience, we now have a better idea of what is important to our potential international railway customers.  Over the past 2 years we have improved our UIC type coupling castings, including investing in new disamatic patterns at Besaans Foundry in Pretoria.

These improvements have assisted in reducing our unit cost, improved product appearance as well as mass. We are in contact with the UIC authorities and are now looking to have our products formally approved for use in Europe,” says Stuart.

Stuart continues, “Our experience with exports over the past few years has demonstrated we have a sufficiently diverse product range which is both price competitive and of an internationally acceptable quality to satisfy international customers. Vanrail has air brake products that meet the design criteria of either AAR (North American) or UIC (European) standards and with this diversity we can offer products for most railway operating brake standards around the world. This potential market is further expanded by our ability to customise our products to suit a specific customer’s needs.”

In 2015, Vanrail become a GE approved supplier and has benefitted from the experience gained in supplying a global organisation. Vanrail’s products are proudly South African and have a high local content which include the hose, castings and machined fittings. “With our good productivity, intensive attention to quality and responsive customer service standards, we can compete and win business against the best in the world,” concludes Scott.

Innotrans, held every second year, hosts over 3000 global exhibitors and is attended by 140,000 visitors over four days. Vanrail is one of only three South African companies represented at the 2018 show and one of just seven from the entire African continent.