Rail link to Port Elizabeth port damaged by rough seas

18th September 2023 By: Schalk Burger - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

Transnet Freight Rail's (TFR's) rail link into the Port of Port Elizabeth has been heavily damaged by rough sea conditions that caused a wash-away of the track formation on September 16.

This is impacting on the transport of manganese to the port for export, as train movements have been temporarily suspended.

TFR is exploring other contingencies, including using the Port Elizabeth station as a bypass into and out of the port, although such a method will result in a reduced operation. The adverse sea conditions have also not yet fully subsided, it said in a September 18 update to market.

The rail link branches from the mainline into the Algoa Bay Yard, where trains are received and dispatched. Rough seas brought on by abnormal spring tides have washed away parts of the railway for approximately 500 m and pushed large rocks, debris and sand onto the track for about 1 km.

A recovery team has been dispatched to begin repair work and to clear the debris in inaccessible areas.

Major repairs will be conducted during the coming week, dependent on favourable weather conditions. TFR will continue to monitor the weather forecast to ensure the safety of its teams working on the recovery.

Normal operations will resume after the line has been repaired and declared safe for train movement, TFR said.

"Customers have been notified about the extent of the infrastructure damage and the resultant impact on operations. Regular updates will be provided by our customer services department."