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Gordhan commends Transnet on significant repairs after KZN floods

The Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan commends Transnet on significant progress in undertaking repairs to operational areas. Supplied

The Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan commends Transnet on significant progress in undertaking repairs to operational areas. Supplied

Published Jun 14, 2022

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The Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan commends Transnet on significant progress in undertaking repairs to operational areas.

This was after the damage caused by the recent KwaZulu-Natal floods, which were declared a National Disaster.

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According to a statement by the minister, the repair work relates to four major areas - eleven serious areas damaged on the railway line which had to be reconstructed between Durban and Cato Ridge; the reconstruction of parts of Bayhead Road where 60m of the road had collapsed, the creation of a new access road to the Port of Durban and maintenance of the railway line which was brought forward.

Significantly, Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) has - with effect from Monday 13 June 2022, reopened a single line on the Container Corridor between Durban and Cato Ridge, where operations had been suspended since 11 April 2022.

This means that rail operations on the Container Corridor – a key economic node which moves freight between Gauteng and Durban - will now resume on the single line, the ministry said.

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Additional capacity will be unlocked on the mainline in September, when repairs on the second line are completed and it is reopened to traffic.

On 10 June 2022, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) at the Port of Durban successfully commissioned the fourth lane on Bayhead Road, as part of the second phase of the rehabilitation project.

It should be noted that Bayhead Road, which leads to the Durban Container Terminals and the Island View Precinct in the Port, was heavily impacted when parts of the road were washed away by the floods.

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TNPA had successfully executed Phase 1 of the road’s rehabilitation project on 16 April 2022, a few days after the flooding. This included the stabilisation and opening up of the road with one lane going in each direction. By 8 May 2022, a third lane had been opened.

To ensure that Bayhead Road is relieved of congestion going forward, an alternative bypass road leading to the Durban Container Terminals and the Island View Complex was identified.

The ministry said a great deal of work has already taken place to clear this road for the development of the new access pathway. The removal of existing rail tracks and clearing of the bushes has since been completed, with earthworks and placement of pioneer layers currently in progress. Work on the alternative bypass road is expected to be concluded towards the end of November 2022.

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TFR is currently moving staged loads between Durban and Cato Ridge, which were prevented from reaching their destinations during the floods. Once completed flows between City Deep and Durban will commence.

The opening of the line took a workforce complement of 2 673, working 1 924 560 person-hours over 60 days to achieve this milestone.

This was a testament to Transnet’s internal capabilities, 90% of the rehabilitation work comprising of design and construction was executed by Transnet’s Rail Network Construction (RNC) division and 10% was outsourced.

TFR took advantage of this period and brought forward the annual planned maintenance shutdown on the Container Corridor by three months and executed this in the last week of May 2022.

The corridor achieved a 98% execution success rate in the shutdown, which will lead to significant improvement on the efficiency and reliability of the infrastructure, network renewal, removal of speed restrictions, theft prevention, and resilience to adverse weather. The benefits of this work will be fully realised once the second line is open and the entire network is operational.

The recovery from the damage caused by the flooding in Kwazulu-Natal will enable exporters and importers that utilise the port of Durban to return to normality, and Transnet will endeavour to ensure that all shipping lines continue to service the Port of Durban.

BUSINESS REPORT

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