Transnet is putting in place measures to improve locomotive availability and stabilise capacity on its coal lines to support coal exporters and the economy. Photo: File
Transnet is putting in place measures to improve locomotive availability and stabilise capacity on its coal lines to support coal exporters and the economy. Photo: File

Transnet prioritising capacity improvements on coal lines

By ANA Reporter Time of article published Feb 20, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG - Transnet is putting in place measures to improve locomotive availability and stabilise capacity on its coal lines to support coal exporters and the economy, the state-owned company said on Saturday.

"Transnet is also implementing catch-up plans to build the resilience necessary to deliver the committed 1.6 million tons per week compared to the current 1.3 million tons," Transnet said in a statement.

Some of the measures being implemented included:

  • fast-tracking maintenance of locomotives, where feasible, because of the age of the locomotives and the availability of spares;
  • reallocation of suitable locomotives throughout the business to match capacity with current demand while not jeopardising the performance of other transport corridors; and
  • implementation of robust integrated security management plans, as vandalism of locomotives remained a problem.

As a result of these initiatives, locomotive availability was expected to improve over the coming weeks to 18 locomotive sets.

Low demand experienced at the beginning of the 2020/21 financial year due to Covid-19, coupled with direct and indirect consequences of the pandemic, crippling theft incidents, and the under supply of locomotives, dropped the coal average monthly throughput to 5,614,852 tons.

In January 2021, coal volume deliveries were also affected by a planned supply chain-wide maintenance shutdown, which was immediately followed by disruptions related to the damage caused by excessive rain following tropical cyclone Eloise, Transnet said.

"Legacy issues have also exacerbated the situation. The CSR [China South Rail] and CNR [China North Rail] contracts, part of the 1064 locomotives contract, were suspended due to allegations of fraud and corruption.

"Although it is common practice to conclude maintenance and spares agreements with OEMs at the time of acquisition, this was not done with the 1064 contract."

Warranty obligations in respect of locomotives acquired to date were being enforced and any constraints to receiving spares was mainly due to original equipment manufacturers’ (OEM) responsiveness.

This meant that Transnet engineering, a division responsible for maintenance, had to find alternative solutions. All these factors had resulted in disruptions to the timeous delivery of export coal.

On the upside, the infrastructure condition improvements completed during the January 2021 shutdown removed at least 13 temporary speed restrictions on the network, which released capacity for about 14 additional train slots per week.

This had significantly increased the flexibility by reducing the impediments to the delivery of the weekly committed volumes, Transnet said.

African News Agency

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