What We Do

About Us

The African Rail Industry Association (ARIA), previously known as the RailRoad Association, is an industry body that represents Original Equipment Manufacturers, rail operators and rail component manufacturers. Our representation includes rail and associated industries including mining, agriculture, automotive as well as the broader transport and logistics sector.


ARIA is a fully-fledged Export Council established and supported by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition. The Export Council is committed to creating opportunities for the South African industry on the continent and globally.


As an industry representative body we are a recognised Association by the Rail Safety Regulator in terms of the National Railways Safety Regulator Act (s 7(b)(2)), as well as an employer representative at the Transport Education Training Authority (TETA)

The African Rail Industry Association (ARIA) is a representative of companies that are Original Equipment Manufacturers, Rail operators, and Rail Services Companies in rail sector associated industries. It is a fully-fledged Export Council acknowledged and supported by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition.

Our Vision


Our vision is to have a world class rail infrastructure that criss-crosses Africa,  whose development relies on the potential of African people


Mission Statement


Our mission is to materially advocate for the rail industry.

1. As a key sector in driving economic growth and integration of the continent.
2. As one of the key contributors to Gross Domestic Productivity (GDP) across Africa.
3. To consistently improve the modes of transport in Africa through Rail.


ARIA will work with stakeholders towards the creation of a vibrant rail industry distinguished by job creation and the development of new products for global supply. ARIA asserts that rail should be the key driver for the revitalisation of the South African economy.



ARIA aims to change the status quo, towards an environment that supports, stimulates and unlocks economic value, in order to elevate the level of effectiveness.



To create, promote, change or enhance processes and practices for the benefit of the sector and the industry it supports.

Our Objectives



To grow the railway sector customer base and upstream economic participation through open access and or limited 3rd party access to the Network, in both freight and passenger services.


Opening access to operators to haul freight not served by Transnet, thereby becoming the custodians of “the road-to-rail strategy” through its implementation.


Speeding up the implementation of legislation that promotes rail as the preferred mode of transport (solution).


Creating an integrated platform that brings together public and private role players in the sector to ensure alignment – getting “everyone on the same page”.


The integrated platform should serve as a mechanism to speed up response to the familiar problems of SOE procurement, logical procurement, barriers to entry, supplier development and value for money in terms of SOE / Treasury / Taxpayers money.


Implementation of tools such as the Luxembourg Rail Protocol to the Cape Town Convention that will restore investor confidence in the sector and debt and equity capital investment.


Rail will be an essential component in the viability and success of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA). South Africa needs to play a leadership role which will promote South Africa, which has been recognised as a manufacturing hub for railway equipment and rolling stock in the African Union agenda 2063.




Quality standards
Conditions on the African continent differ from those of other markets. ARIA stands for standardisation of technical specifications of the continent to create an enabling environment for the integration of rail infrastructure across the continent.


Procurement process needs to be standardised along with improvement in the compilation of technical documents, technical specifications and tender adjudication.


Regulated Pricing
ARIA advocates for a standardised framework and regulated pricing of the rail sector. It will be achieved through the support of initiatives like the Single Transport Economic Regulator (STER) Legislation.


Supplier Development
Development of the supplier base that is inclusive, including the support of women and youth


Fair Commercial Terms
Commercial terms that support the ideals of a developing state on the African continent; this translates to the development of the rail infrastructure aligned with the needs of the broader society it serves.




The economic growth of the sector hinges on several sectors

  • Sufficient, capable of supply the local through to manufacturing, maintain and supply the industry
  • Supplier development, thereby creating opportunities for new entrants, dropping barriers to entry and developing local capability
  • Inclusive growth and BBBEE
  • Restoring confidence to stimulate investment
  • Effective policies, regulations and legislation
  • Continual Training and development.


To achieve this ARIA will:

  • Assist in the formation and implementation of policy and regulation
  • Engage with TETA and training stakeholders to have qualified skills, for now, the future, the 4IR & digitalisation.
  • Find alignment on Supplier Development with SOE’s and other Stakeholders.
  • Support South African companies as the AU rail manufacturing hub; thereby promoting export capacity. This will include sourcing opportunities outside of South Africa to present to members to participate either individually or as consortiums.



Enhancing strategic partnerships involves educating stakeholders about the industry’s aims and activities, improving communication, ensuring there is transparency within the industry and that ARIA is open in all its dealings.


To deliver on our agenda, effective partnerships with key stakeholders in the public and private space are in place:


ARIA Stakeholders

  • African Union
  • Department of Public Enterprise (DPE)
  • Department of Trade, Industry & Competition (D.T.I.C)
  • Department of Transport (D.O.T.)
  • Development Bank of Southern Africa
  • Industrial Development Corporation (I.D.C.)
  • National Treasury
  • Labour movement
  • Railway Safety Regulator (R.S.R)
  • SARA
  • The Rail working group: LUXEMBOURG Rail Protocol to the Cape Town Convention ratification.
  • Transport Education and Training Authority (T.E.T.A.)




ARIA will actively seek innovative mechanisms and advocate for policies that will unlock the investment and growth potential in the sector.

The desired outcome of these objectives are:

  • Building confidence that creates investment
  • Demonstrate that rail is an enabler of economic growth
  • Stabilise the industry
  • Leverage the upstream benefits of a robust rail sector
  • Deliver on the greater responsibility towards our country
  • Live and show the power of Collaboration, Standardisation,
  • Sustainability and Partnerships.

Interested in working with ARIA?

We are open to strategic partnerships that will help us forge a path to a greater and connected African Rail Network.