Zucula said discussions had been held with South African state rail company Transnet in an attempt to standardise transport prices, so Maputo port would no longer be disadvantaged, AIM reported. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi.

South African freight group Transnet reported a rise in full-year profit on Monday and said it would spend 110.6 billion rand ($15.96 billion) on capital investments in the next five years.

Transnet said its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the year to end-March totalled 15.8 billion rand compared with 14.4 billion rand a year earlier. Earnings were lifted by higher volumes.

The company said it transported 62.2 million tonnes of export coal and 46.2 million tonnes of export iron ore during the financial year.

It expects to raise capacity on the coal export line leading to Richards Bay Coal Terminal to 81 million tonnes by 2015 and on the iron ore line to 60.7 million tonnes by 2014.

The planned 81 million tonnes capacity on the coal line is, however, still below the expanded capacity of 91 million tonnes at Richards Bay Coal Termina (RBCT).

Its capital investment programme will be welcomed by coal producers that rely on it to get their products to port and the company said it would borrow over 25 billion rand over the next five years to help fund it and to redeem existing loans.

Coal producers in South Africa, including Anglo American , BHP Billiton , Exxaro , Optimum Coal and Xstrata , have been eager to export more coal to meet fast-rising demand from India and China, but have been limited by infrastructure bottlenecks. - Reuters