Transnet ramps up locomotive coal service to Port of Richards Bay

Transnet ramps up locomotive coal service to Port of Richards Bay

South Africa – Transnet says ramping up the number of locomotives available on its lines is one of the key measures it is implementing to decongest the Port of Richards Bay .

Delays related to truck deliveries at the port has led to increased and intense congestion leading into the Kwazulu-Natal port .

The company said the move to put more locomotives on the lines is part of measures to improve the performance of the North Corridor (NorthCor) which handles some 41% of Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) volumes .

“TFR is ramping up the coal service to the port by seven trains per week by mid-December 2023, bringing the total number of trains to 28 per week .

This equates to volume of about 15 400 tons per week, and an annualised tempo of 739 200 tons per annum, which is equivalent to 452 road truck trips per week, and 21 747 road truck trips per annum .

“The first four locomotives will be deployed over the next few days .

Between December 2023 and March 2024, TFR will bring in an additional seven trains, resulting in 35 trains per week to the port .

This will support efforts underway to decongest the port,” Transnet said .

The NorthCor runs from coal mining town Lephalale in Limpopo to the port and has faced challenges including lack of availability and reliability, cable theft and vandalism .

The company explained that the current increase is “partly as a result of additional locomotive capacity which has been repaired and is being deployed to the corridor” .

“Improvements in cable theft incidents also mean that TFR is able to turn trains around faster, for a more efficient service .

As part of efforts to improve the condition of the network and increase slot capacity, TFR is reinstalling some signalling equipment, with most expected to be functional by February 2024,” Transnet said .

The freight and logistics company assured that it will “continue to work with road carriers” and other stakeholders to reduce the congestion .

“In this regard, the company is working on a plan to implement a last-mile strategy, where road carriers will haul cargo to inland terminals and Transnet conducts a shuttle service into the Port .

“If successful, Transnet anticipates having the strategy operational by March 2024,” the company said .

Meanwhile, Cabinet has welcomed measures and plans put in place by Transnet to resolve the backlog at ports in Durban and Richard’s Bay .

Briefing the media on the Cabinet meeting that took place on Wednesday, Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, said Transnet is making intensive efforts to mobilise equipment, such as cranes, from all over the world to ensure a successful execution of its implementation plan .

“The progress made by Transnet in clearing most of the backlog at the Cape Town Container Terminal, with only one vessel at anchorage, is encouraging .

Transnet remains committed to working with all role-players to address the challenges within the logistics sector,” the Minister said on Thursday .

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