Transnet said it would haul 11.5 million tons of coal in 2020/21, from 7.5 million tons in 2019/20, by providing reliable freight services to Eskom. Photo: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
Transnet said it would haul 11.5 million tons of coal in 2020/21, from 7.5 million tons in 2019/20, by providing reliable freight services to Eskom. Photo: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)

Transnet working with Eskom chief to double its coal volumes

By Dineo Faku Time of article published Feb 6, 2020

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CAPE TOWN – Transnet plans to almost double Eskom coal volumes next year as part of boosting the reliability of its freight services, it said at the Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Transnet said it would haul 11.5 million tons of coal in 2020/21, up from 7.5 million tons in the 2019/20 financial year, by providing reliable freight services to Eskom.

Mike Fanuchi, Transnet’s group executive for markets, told delegates that Transnet was working with Eskom chief executive Andre de Ruyter and his team to address underlying issues.

“I spoke to him just before we walked into this room. We have established a joint Eskom/Transnet task team looking at how we can drive that coal up.

“We are looking at how we are going to move 11.5 million tons next year and 14 million tons thereafter to reach 32 million tons in the next five years,” said Fanuchi, adding that the company wanted to improve the quality of coal.

He said Transnet wanted to understand what would happen to coal demand over the next decade or two, adding that the aim was to move coal cheaply and effectively.

“We have aligned with them (Eskom) in terms of looking at different operating models. We regard them as our siblings, our objective is to reduce the cost of doing business,” he said emphasising it was cheaper to haul coal by rail than by road.

“Our objective is to reduce the cents per kilowatt-hour, because if we do that, we reduce the cost of doing business in this country. We are reducing our costs because we are buying a lot of electricity,” Fanuchi said.

Transnet chief executive Portia Derby will prioritise maintenance. Photo: Supplied
Transnet chief executive Portia Derby will prioritise maintenance. Photo: Supplied

Transnet, which employs 55 000 people, recently announced the appointment of Portia Derby as its chief executive.

Asked what her priority would be, Derby, who was also at the Indaba, said maintenance would top the list.

“Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance. If we don't do maintenance, we will not run the shipments on time,” said Derby.

Derby said her strength was that she knew the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), a key element in a set of reforms to the management of government finances.

“I think one of my strengths is that I worked in the government when the PFMA was being drafted. I know that law really well. I know exactly how people use that to hide inefficiencies,” said Derby.

Derby said the group would prioritise the filling of leadership positions.

“It's a big priority for Transnet,” she said.

Derby previously served as the director-general of the department of public works from 2005 to 2009.

She was previously acting chief operations officer for the department of trade and industry and served on various boards, including those of Metair Investments and SA Forestry Company, another state-owned entity.

BUSINESS REPORT

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