Transnet rail operations nearly back to full tilt

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PHOTO: SA News

Transnet Freight Rail CEO, Sizakele Mzimela, says most rail corridors used by the company are now back to normal operations.

“Most corridors have now returned to normal operations and the volume of performance on Sunday was over 100% for corridors such as the North corridor and the ore corridor. We are beginning to see pick up as well from the other corridors,” she said.

Mzimela explained that operations were ramped up soon after a wage agreement was found, with safety and the “unblocking” of some 257 trains from the network the priorities.

“When the strike started… there were certain trains that were left on the line en route to their destination. We needed to clear those trains before we could go back to normal operations because they were effectively blocking the line. [Some] 234 of those have been cleared but unfortunately, 23 trains remain staged and this is a result of the cable that was stolen, in particular in the container corridor.

“Second to that, we had to start to move some of the trains that were carrying maintenance material because a large part of what we also needed to deal with was the repair of various parts of our network, where a significant amount of our cable was stolen,” she said.

Mzimela emphasised that cable theft increased dramatically during the strike and this continues to “seriously hamper” the movement of trains.

“The one area of concern is the container corridor where we experienced an abnormally high level of theft incidents during this period and they’ve been continuously repeating.

“So we are able to move trains up to a particular level and it’s a stop-go operation at this stage because once we have cleared the cables… further up, we will find another incident of theft of cable,” she said.

Transnet said since the beginning of the strike, security has been beefed up on the container corridor with additional personnel deployed, drone capacity deployed and additional task teams assigned with engagements with police leading to arrests.

George Herald