Transnet Freight Rail has announced it will make the first slots on its lines available to private operators.
This is in a bid to maximise economic opportunities offered by rail in the country.
The company says bids will be taken from 01 April to 31 May 2022.
Transnet Freight Rail CEO Sizakele Mzimela says the appropriate pricing will encourage the use of railways instead of the road network to move goods.
Six of the slots are on the container corridor between City Deep in Johannesburg and Durban.
The other 10 are on the line between Pretoria and East London.
Mzimela says these slots are ideally situated for the logistical, automotive and agricultural sectors.
“You know I mean, quite frankly, I think that our bidding is more about making sure that we find a way to densify the lines right now, especially on the key corridors to move those critical commodities on behalf of the economy.”
Meanwhile, Transnet Freight Rail General Manager Ali Motala says security will have to be prioritised.
He says that due to infrastructure and cable theft problems, it takes 36 hours for a freight train from City Deep to reach Durban, instead of the usual 18 hours.
“And what is absolutely crucial in the engagement is that the security challenge is a national challenge. Transnet invests significant resources in mitigating the effects of the security challenge on our operations and on our customers’ operations. But it’s incumbent that everybody in the value chain contributes to addressing the security issue.”
CEO at the African Rail Industry Association, Mesela Nhlapo, spoke to SABC News last year in November about private operators on the rail network: