TSDC says it obtains technical approval for private rail terminal at Tambo Springs

2nd July 2021 By: Tasneem Bulbulia - Creamer Media Reporter

The Tambo Springs Development Company (TSDC) says its Tambo Springs Logistics Gateway has achieved a milestone, with Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) having approved the technical layout for a private rail terminal and private rail siding.

Previous plans by TFR to develop and outsource the rail terminal to a concession were scrapped during lockdown last year when these particular concession processes failed.

“This forced us back to the drawing board to come up with an alternative rail solution. We are very excited about the approval as it sets us on course to move the project forward without further delay,” says TSDC CEO Tumi Mohulatsi.

TSDC is the landowner and master developer of the project.

“The 607 ha industrial development, with bonded and secure zones, is strategically located on the southern border of the Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni metropolis and has been years in the making and is set to change Gauteng’s transport, logistics and warehousing scene for good,” Mohulatsi states.

He adds that, while the rail consortium failure was a considerable stumbling block, it has since been overcome and the project is back on track.

“The project’s intermodal rail terminal remains a key focus, and our decision to develop it privately showcases our commitment to delivering sub-Saharan Africa’s largest intermodal terminal.

“We submitted our drawings and engineering of how the rail terminal is envisaged to TFR last month and received approval in record time. The next step in the process is obtaining the necessary Railway Safety Regulator approvals,” Mohulatsi says.

He notes that, once completed, Tambo Springs will have easy access to major road and rail networks linking strategic seaports, the OR Tambo International Airport and industries in the province.

“Tambo Springs will be equipped to meet all manufacturing, warehousing and distribution needs and will double current freight logistics capacity in and out of Gauteng. It will provide customs clearance and the benefits of a special economic zone, offering any business with a footprint in the precinct major advantages,” Mohulatsi acclaims.

He says the development of the intermodal rail terminal is critical to the overall success of the project, adding that it will also ensure that current and future container traffic is efficiently and appropriately serviced on rail, alleviating the existing and projected pressure on the national road infrastructure.

COUNTERPOINT

As reported by Engineering News in October 2020, the developer of a private inland port in southern Gauteng, known as Distribution Junxion Port of Gauteng, had initiated legal action against the provincial administration in a bid to prevent it from implementing road infrastructure developments required to facilitate the construction of the Tambo Springs Logistics Gateway.

Both proposed developments are located within close proximity to the main freight corridor between Durban and Johannesburg, including the N3 highway and TFR’s Natcor railway line, and are being proposed as a way of improving freight logistics in Gauteng and reducing road congestion in and around Johannesburg.

In its applications, investor and developer NT55 Investments is challenging the PWV13 realignment, gazetted in 2017, on irrationality and procedural grounds. The realignment is necessary for the Tambo Springs Logistics Gateway to have its township approval gazetted.

Speaking to Engineering News following TSDC’s latest announcement regarding the Tambo Springs Logistics Gateway, NT55 Investments director Francois Nortje says that, “they don’t have access and might never get access; and they cannot proclaim the townships, because they don’t have access”.

He further highlights that the PWV13 was initially planned through the middle of Tambo Spring's planned terminal and that the PWV13 planning was changed.

Nortje says the new planning puts the PWV13 in a wetland and notes that the amended planning is subject to a court review.