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Hogan commits to rail delay action

Jun 21 2010 17:31 Troye Lund

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Cape Town - Minister of Public Enterprises Barbara Hogan said on Monday she is well aware of the delays exporters experience when sending goods to harbours by rail.

Responding to a question in parliament, Hogan said a main contributor to the delays is cable theft.

The main commodities being affected by these delays include:

Export coal

Transnet transports coal for stockpiling at the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT), which is privately owned. The average cycle time agreed upon with customers is 59 hours from the mines to the port. "However, should the stockpile at the terminal be too high - or if there are equipment or other problems at RBCT - then delays are likely to occur."   

Iron ore

This is transported from Sishen near Kathu in the Northern Cape to Saldanha for export as well as stockpiling. The agreed transit time from the mine to the port is 22 hours. Transnet performs well in terms of the agreed transit time for this commodity and achieves it consistently, said Hogan.

Chrome from Rustenberg to Richards Bay

"The performance of this commodity has been hampered by off-loading capacity which takes two days longer than the agreed cycle time. The port is implementing a project to refurbish and upgrade off-loading equipment," said Hogan.

Containers from Pretoria and City Deep to Durban

The average transit time for containers on the Johannesburg to Durban corridor (Natcor) is 19 hours. While delays have been experienced on the Natcor because of theft of overhead copper cable, containers from Gauteng to Port Elizabeth/Ngqura take 40 hours to reach the destination because of cable theft in Gauteng.

"The transit time of containers to and from Cape Town is 46 hours, while the design is 36 hours of transit time," said Hogan. "The issues which are causing delays, such as capacity and planning, are progressively being dealt with."   

Manganese to Port Elizabeth

This commodity, Hogan said, is performing in accordance with the agreed transit time of six days. This export channel, however, is constrained because of the lack of rail and port capacity to support growth. Transnet is currently negotiating with key players in the manganese industry to plan a capacity expansion and determine the costs thereof, said Hogan.

Magnetite to Richards Bay

"Magnetite is performing well below the agreed transit time of seven days and is therefore running well," said Hogan.

She said plans are in place to limit delays caused by copper theft cable. This included the conversion from copper cable to tiger wire, and increasing the number of security guards in hotspot areas.

Transnet's Quantum Leap Corporate Plan, which has set "challenging targets" for key operational performance indicators such as increasing wagon and locomotive utilisation as well as efficiencies in port operations, would also improve the situation, according to Hogan.

 - Fin24.com
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