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Rail News

Traxtion refurbishes, adds 5 Transnet class 39 locomotives to fleet of 60 in eight African countries

By: Schalk Burger     10th May 2024 Private rail operator and services company Traxtion has refurbished five class 39 locomotives it bought from State-owned Transnet at its workshop in Rosslyn, Gauteng. This is part of its fleet expansion to meet the growing demand of freight rail services in Africa. "Traxtion is preparing for the... 

Air freight leads recovery in logistics sector in March – Ctrack index 

By: Irma Venter     10th May 2024 After a notable decline in the first two months of the year, the Ctrack Transport and Freight Index (Ctrack TFI) in March increased to an index level of 119.7. This is an increase of 1.1% compared with February, and just marginally up on a year ago. 

Air freight leads recovery in logistics sector in March – Ctrack index

New rail-focused logistics organisation launched 

By: Schalk Burger     7th May 2024 A new logistics industry body the Multimodal Inland Port Association (MIPA), formed by organisations in the transportation sector, has been launched to enhance logistics performance, reduce costs and boost efficiency. The association is dedicated to improving Southern Africa's supply chain.... 

TFR ramps up coal trains to 28 a week

By: Darren Parker     3rd May 2024 State-owned Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) has embarked on a ramp up of GF-class coal trains from 21 a week to 28 a week, supported by an injection of locomotives. This is part of Transnet’s recovery plan initiatives, and a commitment made to the City of uMhlathuze leadership and other stakeholders... 

Coal train

Transnet volumes, revenue up, but falls short of recovery targets

By: Darren Parker     26th April 2024 State-owned Transnet has reported a 1.5% year-on-year improvement in the total rail volumes reaching 151.7-million tonnes at the end of March 2024, showcasing improvement in operational performance. However, this figure still fell 1.8% short of Transnet’s recovery plan target of 154.4-million... 

Transnet freight train

PRASA partially restores five more railway corridors

By: Irma Venter     26th April 2024 The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) says it has restored another five Metrorail corridors across Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape. These rail services were interrupted by Covid-19, vandalism, crime and poor maintenance practices under previous management teams. 

Can South Africa turn around 30 years of real economy underperformance?

By: Terence Creamer     26th April 2024 In this essay, Terence Creamer reflects on the factors that have shaped South Africa’s real-economy sectors of manufacturing, mining and agriculture over the past 30 years and considers ways to end the economy’s persistent underperformance 

Magazine cover image

Decarbonised iron production possible using sodium, company says

By: Darren Parker     19th April 2024 A new process being pioneered by energy companies such as Israel-based Helios and Netherlands-based Alkalium proposes the use of sodium metal rather than coal or hydrogen to refine iron-ore into direct reduced iron (DRI). Traditionally, iron is beneficiated by mixing iron-ore fines with coal. The... 

direct reduced iron pellets

South Africa taps business to create office to end rail monopoly 

By: Bloomberg     8th April 2024 South Africa has asked companies to help it set up an office to facilitate the entry of private operators onto the continent’s biggest rail network for the first time. In a letter sent last month to Business Unity South Africa, the Department of Transport asked the country’s biggest corporate... 

Rail tracks

Newlyn launches R3.4bn multimodal rail terminal at Durban port

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     5th April 2024 Port logistics company the Newlyn Group on April 4 unveiled the Newlyn PX Bayhead rail terminal, strategically located next to the Port of Durban, aimed at opening intra-Africa and local trade and investment opportunities. “This is a major milestone for South Africa and showcases what can be... 

An image showing the Newlyn Group unveileng the Newlyn PX Bayhead rail terminal
Newlyn PX Bayhead rail terminal launch

PRASA restores five more rail corridors partially 

By: Irma Venter     4th April 2024 The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) says it has restored another five Metrorail corridors across Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape. These rail services were interrupted by Covid-19, vandalism, crime and poor maintenance practices under previous management teams. 

Image of a PRASA station

Ctrack transport, freight index shows deterioration in all but one of six sectors tracked

By: Irma Venter     29th March 2024 After increasing somewhat in December, the Ctrack Transport and Freight Index (TFI) declined notably in January to a level of 119.3 – a drop of 2.1%, compared with December’s 121.9. The extent of the weakness is almost similar to the pressure the sector experienced during the KwaZulu-Natal... 

Gautrain Management Agency chief speaks on extension plans, service enhancements

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     29th March 2024 The Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) is re-engineering the company for full commercialisation while undertaking extension plans and pursuing enhancements for the Gautrain system, with many of these to be enabled by the appointment of a new concessionaire in 2026. This was outlined by recently... 

Magazine cover image

Rail, ports reforms gaining traction  

By: Creamer Media Reporter      28th March 2024 Engineering News editor Terence Creamer discusses the key reforms being pursued across the rail and ports sectors; the recent publication of a rail network statement and the subsequent concerns raised; and Transnet's owns recovery plan. 

Rail, ports reforms gaining traction
Rail, ports reforms gaining traction

Transnet Freight Rail’s North Corridor achieves weekly record

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     26th March 2024 Transnet Freight Rail’s (TFR’s) North Corridor accomplished the delivery of 1.41-million tonnes last week, marking the most substantial weekly performance in terms of volume for the current financial year. This includes the transport of 1.18-million tonnes of export coal to the Richards Bay Coal... 

Grindrod to spend big at Maputo’s Matola drybulk terminal to grow capacity

By: Irma Venter     22nd March 2024 Ports and logistics group Grindrod is set to invest big in its Matola drybulk terminal in Mozambique. Announcing Grindrod’s financial results for the year ended December 31 earlier this month, CEO Xolani Mbambo said the JSE-listed logistics group would spend the bulk of its R2.5-billion capital... 

Transnet chief urges formal comment on Network Statement while acknowledging cool reception to tariff methodology 

By: Terence Creamer     20th March 2024 Transnet CEO Michelle Phillips has acknowledged the initial negative reaction to a proposed tariff methodology published for comment by the interim Infrastructure Manager (IM) alongside the country’s inaugural draft Network Statement, which will be used to govern access to the railway network for... 

Rail

Thirty-one countries to start trading under AfCFTA Agreement this year

By: Sabrina Jardim     18th March 2024 Amid the increasing importance of intra-African trade, 31 countries are expected to start trading under the African Continental FreeTrade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement by the end of the year, South Africa’s Department of Trade, Industry and Competition Trade Branch Africa bilateral economic relations... 

South Africa should get off global regulator's 'grey list' in 2025, says Kganyago 

By: Reuters     13th March 2024 South Africa's central bank governor said on Wednesday that he was confident the country would be removed from an international financial crime watchdog's "grey list" next year, given the work that is under way to fix identified issues. The International Financial Action Task Force (FATF) last... 

Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago
Photo by Creamer Media's Donna Slater
Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago

Africa’s biggest freight rail market set for private operators

By: Bloomberg     13th March 2024 Africa’s biggest freight rail market is on the cusp of being transformed by private operators, the head of the operator of the continent’s largest rolling-stock fleet said. The South African government is about to publish a so-called rail network statement that will propose rules for private rail... 

A locomotive and wagons owned by Transnet Freight Rail

Broad-based weakness evident in the logistics sector – Ctrack index 

By: Irma Venter     12th March 2024 After increasing somewhat in December, the Ctrack Transport and Freight Index (TFI) declined notably in January to a level of 119.3 – a drop of 2.1% compared with December’s 121.9. The extent of the weakness is almost similar to the pressure the sector experienced during the KwaZulu-Natal looting... 

Broad-based weakness evident in the logistics sector – Ctrack index

GDP figures cap decade of negative GDP per capita growth – BLSA

By: Schalk Burger     11th March 2024 While the gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the fourth quarter of 2023 was 0.1%, growth was negative in terms of GDP per capita, given that population growth is outpacing it. "We have been trending lower since 2013, and have now crowned a decade of negative per capita growth. South Africans... 

Locomotives used by Transnet Freight Rail

Mgojo says collaborative efforts will enable Transnet to report higher volumes than initially forecast 

By: Terence Creamer     8th March 2024 Business Unity South Africa president Mxolisi Mgojo reports that the collaboration between business and government to turn around the performance of Transnet could result in the struggling State-owned freight logistics group moving significantly more volumes in the year to March than was guided... 

Business Unity South Africa president Mxolisi Mgojo
Business Unity South Africa president Mxolisi Mgojo

Business, govt meet to discuss electricity, logistics reforms  

By: Creamer Media Reporter      8th March 2024 Engineering News editor Terence Creamer discusses the latest meeting held between senior business leaders and President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Cabinet; the feedback provided on efforts to tackle loadshedding; and a report back on the Transnet Recovery Plan and the reforms in the logistics sector. 

Photo of Terence Creamer
Business, govt meet to discuss electricity, logistics reforms

Ctrack index points to another year of ‘fairly subdued’ transport-sector growth

By: Irma Venter     8th March 2024 The Ctrack Transport and Freight Index (Ctrack TFI) forecasts “another year of fairly subdued growth for the transport sector”. This is based on the assumption of mediocre economic growth in South Africa this year, forecast at 1.3%, up from 2023’s estimated 0.6%. 

Immediate actions needed to foster a more competitive rail industry

By: Simone Liedtke     8th March 2024 South Africa’s rail sector is faced with unprecedented challenges that threaten its operational viability and economic contribution, says law firm Webber Wentzel partner Scott Edmundson, who says the dire situation underscores the urgent need for transformative reforms to salvage and rejuvenate... 

SCOTT EDMUNDSON
By creating an international registry for recognising and enforcing creditor and lessor rights, these treaties aim to reduce financing costs and risks
SCOTT EDMUNDSON By creating an international registry for recognising and enforcing creditor and lessor rights, these treaties aim to reduce financing costs and risks

Local expertise needed to address challenges

8th March 2024 Despite having the most advanced railway system on the continent, with about 30 000 km of track, the South African rail and transportation sector is currently facing numerous significant challenges, electromechanical equipment manufacturer Actom Signalling division engineering projects and... 

LEONARD DE VILLIERS
Challenges have resulted in significant disruptions and inefficiencies in the country’s transportation network
LEONARD DE VILLIERS Challenges have resulted in significant disruptions and inefficiencies in the country’s transportation network

Close collaboration essential to ensure competitive market, industry

8th March 2024 Global growth is expected to be subdued, if not stagnant, in 2024, and amid this slow growth and some challenging market conditions, global trade is also expected to be sluggish, says financial services company Investec logistics head Denys Hobson, who references the World Bank’s estimation that... 

DENYS HOBSON
Global growth is expected to be subdued, if not stagnant, in 2024
DENYS HOBSON Global growth is expected to be subdued, if not stagnant, in 2024

Grindrod to spend big at Matola terminal as MPDC grows Maputo capacity

By: Irma Venter     7th March 2024 Ports and logistics group Grindrod is set to invest big in its Matola drybulk terminal in Mozambique. Announcing Grindrod’s financial results for the year ended December 31 on Thursday, CEO Xolani Mbambo said the JSE-listed logistics group would spend the bulk of its R2.5-billion capital... 

Grindrod to spend big at Matola terminal as MPDC grows Maputo capacity

PPP reforms could avert need for prescribed-assets policy to increase private infrastructure investment – Pieterse   

By: Terence Creamer     1st March 2024 National Treasury director-general Dr Duncan Pieterse says the reforms being proposed to facilitate greater private sector investment into infrastructure could obviate the need to introduce a policy of ‘prescribed assets’, whereby pension funds would be required to direct a specified level of... 

National Treasury director-general Dr Duncan Pieterse
National Treasury director-general Dr Duncan Pieterse responds to a question posed on prescribed assets by facilitator Alishia Seckam during a PSG Big Think Series event. Edited: Shadwyn Dickinson 1.3.2024

Business welcomes appointment of new Transnet leadership  

By: Creamer Media Reporter      1st March 2024 Engineering News editor Terence Creamer discusses the business community's reaction to the appointment of permanent executive leadership at Transnet; signs that the turnaround and reforms at Transnet are starting to show some results; and when these developments are likely to start having a... 

Business welcomes appointment of new Transnet leadership
Business welcomes appointment of new Transnet leadership

Cabinet and business praise Sasol and TFR for ‘first-of-its-kind’ partnership to repair 128 ammonia tankers 

By: Terence Creamer     29th February 2024 Both Cabinet and organised business have lauded the five-year public-private partnership agreement between Sasol and Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), under which the energy and chemicals group will fund the maintenance and repair of a dedicated fleet of 128 ammonia tankers. In a statement following... 

Acting TFR CEO Russell Baatjies and Sasol CEO Fleetwood Grobler (seated at centre) sign the agreement, in front of their respective teams, including (standing from left to right) Mario Klaasen, Loven Naidoo, Bonginkosi Mabaso, Pierre Koch, Pierre Taljaard and Kevin Govender, with Ayanda Mokhesi seated to the left of Baatjies and Brad Griffith and David Mokomela seated to Grobler’s right
Acting TFR CEO Russell Baatjies and Sasol CEO Fleetwood Grobler (seated at centre) sign the agreement, in front of their respective teams, including (standing from left to right) Mario Klaasen, Loven Naidoo, Bonginkosi Mabaso, Pierre Koch, Pierre Taljaard and Kevin Govender, with Ayanda Mokhesi seated to the left of Baatjies and Brad Griffith and David Mokomela seated to Grobler’s right

Business sees appointment of Phillips as key step in accelerating Transnet Recovery Plan  

By: Terence Creamer     29th February 2024 Organised business says the appointment of a permanent executive team at Transnet – led by CEO Michelle Phillips, who has been acting in the role since September and who has been with the utility for 20 years – will enhance stability in the relationships between Transnet and the business sector... 

TFR train

‘Deep’ reforms, Transnet appointments key to dealing with South Africa’s logistics crisis – BLSA

By: Sabrina Jardim     26th February 2024 With commodity prices declining and mining companies being unable to get output to their markets owing to issues with the rail and port services that State-owned utility Transnet provides, business organisation Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) CEO Busisiwe Mavuso reiterates that stockpiles... 

BLSA CEO Busisiwe Mavuso
BLSA CEO Busisiwe Mavuso

Private rail network investment expected to focus on bulk freight at first – Traxtion

By: Schalk Burger     22nd February 2024 Private rail operator Traxtion expects the first investment into private freight train capacity to be announced later this year and to be focused on the bulk freight sectors. This is excellent for the national economy, says CEO James Holley. 

Fiscal discipline in Budget, but 5% infrastructure expenditure increase ‘barely positive’ – Minerals Council

By: Schalk Burger     22nd February 2024 Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana maintained focus on fiscal discipline and balancing the need to address socioeconomic challenges facing the country, industry organisation Minerals Council South Africa said in response to the Minister’s Budget Speech on February 21. South Africa, however, needs... 

Minerals Council CEO Mzila Mthenjane
Minerals Council CEO Mzila Mthenjane

SIU gets green light from Ramaphosa to investigate Home Affairs, PRASA

By: Sashnee Moodley     20th February 2024 The Special Investigating Unit is set to probe maladministration at Home Affairs and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa following proclamations signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa. The investigations at Home Affairs relate to the issuing of permits, visas and citizenship and will span 20... 

Special Investigating Unit
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