The Coal Trader

Coal News for Mining & Investing Professionals

Transnet says rail volumes recovered slightly in the last quarter of 2023

Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) says it experienced an improvement in rail volumes in the last quarter of the 2023 calendar year, as the implementation of Transnet’s recovery plan got under way. The quarterly rate of delivery to the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) increased from 47.10-million tonnes in the third quarter to 48.74-million tonnes in the fourth quarter.

TFR’s North Corridor handles an estimated 41% of total TFR volumes and supports key commodity sectors including export coal and chrome, the entity points out. Transnet says it has witnessed signs of recovery on the North Corridor, which was able to improve RBCT export coal volume tonnages from below one-million tonnes weekly on average to 1.1-million tonnes by December 2023.

“The widely reported challenges with security, locomotive availability and reliability, and network reliability have hampered TFR’s performance on this corridor in the last few years, and management is implementing a number of initiatives in the short-, medium- and long term, to ensure operational improvements,” Transnet explains. It highlights that the partnership with industry is resulting in a decline in the number of cable theft incidents on the corridor, although some sporadic incidents still occur.

Transnet emphasises that it continues to intensify deployment of security measures to reduce cable theft and infrastructure vandalism. Transnet and RBCT signed a mutual cooperation agreement in November 2023, which allows for – among others – collaboration on fast-tracking maintenance and operations sustaining procurement.

Transnet is forecasting railing 49-million tonnes of export coal to RBCT against a declared capacity of 60-million tonnes for the financial year ending March 2024. By the end of December 2023, total rail volumes of 35.8-million tonnes had been delivered.

Transnet assures that it continues to implement recovery initiatives in partnership with the National Logistics Crisis Committee and other stakeholders in line with its mandate to deliver reliable, integrated and seamless port and rail solutions.