Transnet-RBCT mutual cooperation deal starts paying off

The delivery of the critical spares will improve the reliability of the available locomotive fleet. File photo

The delivery of the critical spares will improve the reliability of the available locomotive fleet. File photo

Published Feb 7, 2024


Transnet yesterday took delivery of Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT)-procured locomotive batteries.

In a statement issued by Transnet Port Terminals acting group chief Executive, Advocate Michelle Phillips, yesterday she said the mutual cooperation agreement between Transnet and RBCT was paying off, with Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) taking delivery of seven full sets of batteries procured by RBCT this past weekend.

The delivery of the critical spares would improve the reliability of the available locomotive fleet.

Phillips said, “Procurement of locomotive spares – batteries and compressors – is one of the joint initiatives Transnet and RBCT embarked on following the conclusion of the agreement. In this regard, orders were placed for 50 compressors and 1 800 batteries (100 full sets of batteries). The first seven sets of batteries were delivered this past weekend. The full 100 sets of batteries are scheduled to be delivered by end of April 2024.”

This as the first delivery of the compressors was expected next month, with final delivery by June this year. While the industry did the procurement, Transnet will pay for the batteries and compressors, it said.

Professor Irrshad Kaseeram, the deputy Dean for Research Commerce, Administration and Law Faculty at the University of Zululand, said yesterday that it was commendable that since the intervention of President Cyril Ramaphosa last year that the country was getting regular updates on Transnet.

“It is most encouraging that on operational matters they are actively attempting to find solutions. Many of the solutions must also involve private public partnerships (PPP). Moreover government, the private sector and international investors need to cooperate to make sure the necessary infrastructural (rail, road and harbour) investments are in place for our harbours to operate optimally, presently we are ranked at the bottom compared to other countries, even the Port of Beira is ranked ahead of us,” Kaseeram said.

He said the ongoing monitoring, partnerships and transparency augured well for the success of Transnet and the National Port Authorities and in turn for the economic growth of South Africa.

Johann Els, Old Mutual Group chief economist, also said this was a positive development, which would start to have some impact and ease some of the constraints in the area.

“And nothing of this will help overnight of course, that we know. But it is a very big positive step in the right direction. More and more private sector involvement in the economy will also help to ease these constraints and will gradually lift us toward a higher growth path,” Els said.

He stressed that this would not, however, happen overnight seeing the country waking up the next day with Transnet and the ports issues being sorted out.

However, the private sector helping government and state-owned enterprises was very positive, he said.

The agreement, entered into by Transnet and RBCT in November last year, served as a strategic framework between the two entities to foster collaboration and stability within the South African coal supply chain.

Transnet said it sought to ensure the efficient and uninterrupted transportation and export of coal through an efficient rail and port system, collaborative problem-solving in the face of interruptions, and compliance with legal and contractual obligations. It also facilitated innovation and investments in infrastructure to support the coal sector.

The Transnet Recovery Plan, which sought to improve operational efficiency and profitability, hinged on sustainable collaboration with the private sector.