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Durban automotive, fuel and grain transportation affected after flood damages railway

Rail transportation in and out of Durban has been severely affected by the flood, and could take weeks to repair. Picture Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

Rail transportation in and out of Durban has been severely affected by the flood, and could take weeks to repair. Picture Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Apr 21, 2022

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Durban - A critical railway line used to transport cars, fuel and grain from Durban to Gauteng was damaged by the recent floods, raising fears of the impact this will cause to an already fragile economy.

South African state-owned rail and pipeline company, Transnet, confirmed that the railway line in Durban was damaged during the recent flooding.

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Transnet’s Michael Asefovitz told IOL that it is too early to determine how this will affect the city’s and provincial economy and will depend on their contingency measures.

“This line carries containers. The main commodities are automotive, fuel and grain. To a lesser extent, other products that run on the line include cement, sugar, timber, and chemicals.

“It is too early to determine the damage it will cause to the city. This will depend on how soon we can open the line and implement alternative routes,” Asefovitz said.

On Tuesday, Transnet said rail operations were suspended between Cato Ridge, the north and south coast rail lines.

This, after a section between Durban and Cato Ridge was damaged by mudslides and landslides during the recent heavy flooding, which claimed more than 400 lives in KZN.

Transnet spokesperson Ayanda Shezi said the damages occurred in areas where communities have encroached near the railway lines.

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“The preliminary estimated time to resume single line operations on the mainline is seven weeks,” Shezi said.

During a visit to the Durban port, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan urged residents across the province not to panic about a fuel shortage.

Gordhan was in KZN to receive a progress report on damages sustained at Transnet, a lot of which occurred at the Bayhead area, which serves as an entry and exit route to the port.

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Because of the damage at Bayhead, Gordhan said an alternate and temporary route via the Bluff was opened to allow movement of tankers.

“This has ensured that fuel is being supplied in eThekwini and KwaZulu-Natal and, as far as this is concerned, there is accessibility for fuel and there is no risk of a fuel shortage in KwaZulu-Natal,” the minister said.

IOL

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