Coal|Conveyors|Export|Fire|Freight|Locomotives|rail|Road|Roads|Service|Terminals|Testing|Transnet|Transnet Port Terminals|Trucks|Solutions
Coal|Conveyors|Export|Fire|Freight|Locomotives|rail|Road|Roads|Service|Terminals|Testing|Transnet|Transnet Port Terminals|Trucks|Solutions

TFR ramps up coal trains to 28 a week

Coal train

Photo by Creamer Media

3rd May 2024

By: Darren Parker

Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online


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State-owned Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) has embarked on a ramp-up of GF-class coal trains from 21 a week to 28 a week, supported by an injection of locomotives.

This is part of Transnet’s recovery plan initiatives, and a commitment made to the City of uMhlathuze leadership and other stakeholders during the Stakeholder Collaboration on Truck Congestion Solutions meeting held in the Port of Richards Bay, in KwaZulu-Natal, on November 21 last year.

The main objective of the ramp-up was to reduce truck loads and to migrate volume from road to rail. All TFR customers that were road hauling to the Port of Richards Bay at the time were identified and approached directly to indicate interest in participating in a test train service.

Further, the intention of the test was to enable TFR and its customers to assess train loading capabilities and the rail friendliness of their cargo for each of the parties that were road hauling to the port.

The test was focused on aspects such as siding capabilities and readiness, cargo suitability for rail loading, the status of the network, train handling times and train turnaround times.

“As of March 31, the test train initiative had seen TFR moving 106 000 t from road to rail while removing approximately 3 100 truckloads from the roads, or 6 200 truck movements, including the empty leg.

“To date, seven customers, a majority of whom were 100% on road before, have been tested. The process to test the remaining customers is ongoing, subject to available capacity on a week-by-week basis,” North Corridor acting managing executive Theo Johnson said on May 2.

The test train initiative was offered with a clear proviso that it did not constitute a commitment for rail capacity in the long term, as there were structured ongoing processes for capacity allocation, he added.

This ramp-up comes after Transnet Port Terminals said the coal export conveyor belt, which had been out of service for two years owing to fire damage, came back into full operation at the Richards Bay terminals.

The conveyor has taken more than 400 trucks off the road following its commissioning at the end of December 2023 after successful testing.

The belt was among three that were gutted by fires in October 2021. The 2.2-km-long conveyor belt has an output of more than three-million tonnes a year.

Procurement processes to repair the remaining two conveyors were at an advanced stage, Transnet said.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online


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