Agbiz nears finalisation of interface agreement with Transnet

2nd December 2022 By: Marleny Arnoldi - Deputy Editor Online

Industry organisation the Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz) CEO Theo Boshoff has confirmed that an interface agreement is being finalised between itself and State-owned freight utility Transnet to establish working groups for mapping out critical production areas and to resolve bottlenecks to the agricultural logistics corridors.

The work between the two entities, particularly during a workshop hosted in September, is aimed at identifying the capacities required on the agricultural railway lines and ports, as well as what infrastructure needs to be refurbished and at what cost.

“The agreement will make up a business case for where investments are needed on a public-private partnership basis,” Boshoff says.

Agbiz has shared with Transnet information about the peak seasonal activity for pome, stone, grape, mango and avo fruits, as well as for wine, which are typically exported from the Cape Town Container Terminal, so that the entity can better plan the requirements for efficient logistics over the longer term.

In particular, Agbiz has identified the critical corridors in the country for fruit and grain, and how road freight can be moved onto rail, and what infrastructure refurbishment or capacities will be needed to effect the migration.

Boshoff says clear indications of blockages are necessary and for Transnet to indicate where they are willing to partner with private sector companies on joint ventures to ensure an uninterrupted and efficient logistics chain from the point of consolidation to export.

This may include inland loading sites with plug points, rail sidings, third-party slots on main container lines and some port management activities.

In a pre-recorded message played during Agbiz’s media day on December 1, Transnet acknowledged the important of efficient logistics for agricultural exports, and affirmed it had put frameworks in place to respond with agility to the industry’s suggestions and challenges, and collaborate on areas of common interest between Transnet and the industry.