State-owned transport group Transnet has launched a new business unit to focus on the agriculture sector, CEO Transnet CEO Brian Molefe said at an Agribusiness Indaba on Thursday.
The new business unit, which would start operations soon, would consolidate less-than-trainload products through hubs along its rail network. It also aimed to improve hub-to-hub service offerings.
Transnet currently carried about three-million tons of agricultural goods on rail – down from nine-million tons a year in 1994. It aimed to position itself to move 130-million tons of the future agricultural demand by 2041.
Molefe told delegates at the gathering, in Sandton, that the overall transportation of agricultural products, such as sugarcane, in South Africa was expected to jump from the current 86-million tons a year, to 110.5-million tons a year by 2021 and 182.4-million tons a year by 2041.
He said Transnet would increase the capacity of its general freight business division, under which agricultural transportation falls, to 170-million tons, from 80-million tons, through the acquisition of relevant rolling stock and the upgrading of its rail infrastructure over the next seven years.
This formed part of Transnet's R300-billion infrastructure investment programme over the next seven years.
Molefe pointed out that most freight was moved by road owing to the parastatel’s lack of capacity and decline in agricultural-adapted rolling stock.