The Heavy Haul Conference will again this year draw from international best practice to find ways of making South Africa’s railway industry more resilient and better prepared for the future.
Conference organiser, the South African Heavy Haul Association (Sahha), confirmed in an updated statement that the event will be held from August 5 to 7, at Emperors Palace, in Kempton Park. The event would have initially occurred in April, but had to be postponed owing to Covid-19.
“South Africa’s rail network plays a critical role in society and is the transport backbone of a sustainable economy. In order to ensure it achieves its true potential, the rail industry needs to take greater steps to start introducing smart and resilient railway operations and infrastructure, so as to improve efficiency and safety,” said Sahha chairperson Brian Monakali.
He added that smart systems were those able to self-monitor and self-diagnose railway conditions and then predict failures or problems before they occur.
“We want smart systems in heavy haul rail operations similar to what we see in the automotive industry, while making sure that infrastructure can withstand even abnormal conditions such as heavy rains,” Monakali explained.
The conference will address these issues and more, including how the Fourth Industrial Revolution can bring about a smart, resilient railway in South Africa.
The opening keynote at the event will be delivered by Transnet group CEO Portia Derby.
Additionally, Minerals Council South Africa president Mxolosi Mgojo will speak about the opportunities and challenges facing the mining sector and what role the railway industry has in the success of the mining sector.
Sahha also confirmed that a pre-conference technical workshop would be held on August 4 to unpack global best practice under the topic “Railway operations and maintenance excellence”.