Transnet ramping up the number of locomotives available on its lines is a key measure it is implementing to decongest the Port of Richards Bay.
Delays related to truck deliveries at the port have led to increased and intense congestion on roads, including the already busy N2, leading to the port in recent months.
Transnet said the move to put more locomotives on the lines was 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,” Transnet said.
“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 under way to decongest the port.”
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.
Transnet said its increase in equipment deployed was “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,” the state-owned entity said.
Transnet said it was working with road transporters and other stakeholders to develop a plan to
implement a last-mile strategy, which would see road carriers hauling cargo to inland terminals and Transnet conducting a shuttle service to the port. If successful the strategy will be operational by March 2024. – SAnews.gov.za