Transnet SOC Limited, a state-owned enterprise of South Africa, operates several divisions such as Ports, Rail, Pipelines, and Engineering and is considered the largest and most crucial part of the freight logistics chain that delivers goods to each and every South African.
Transnet has been plagued by allegations of mismanagement, corruption, cronyism, financial losses, and other issues for the past several years with many senior officials arrested for fraud.
Transnet Freight Rail
Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) is the largest division of Transnet and is considered to be a world-class heavy-haul freight rail company that specializes in the transportation of freight including containers and bulk commodities..
As part of its partnerships strategy, Transnet has decided to find a partner to invest in and grow Transnet Freight Rail’s freight containerized business, which is the backbone of the manufacturing sector in the country.
In a press release, Transnet has advised that they will be issuing an RFQ (Request for Qualifications) to the market to identify private parties interested in entering into an Operating Lease with TFR for the operation and maintenance of the key container corridor between Johannesburg (City Deep) and the Port of Durban for a period of 20 years.
As per Transnet, the Container Corridor rail mainline is a fully electrified double-tracked rail line running from Booth in KwaZulu-Natal to Union in Gauteng.
While the mainline is 670 kms long, the double line and various major marshalling yards and enabling rail lines take the total track length of the Container Corridor to 1,621 kms.
The press release from Transnet states “The Operating Lease will provide for the required investment in the rehabilitation, upgrade and maintenance of the rail network and rolling stock assets, as well as the operations of the Container Corridor, which includes the Bayhead Back of Port Terminal and defined Inland Terminals of City Deep, Kascon and Bayhead.
The involvement of the private sector is intended to result in a significant shift of containers from road to rail, and increased operational reliability and efficiency.”
The release further states “The RFQ released is not intended to, and will not, impose any legal obligation on Transnet. Transnet has prepared this RFQ for the sole purpose of providing general information about the Container Corridor and to assist interested parties in determining whether to respond to the RFQ. The RFQ will be made available on the Transnet website and the National Treasury e-tender portal.”
Shortlisted respondents from the RFQ process may be invited to submit proposals to Transnet through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process.
If this process works, it will be the answer to several industry-wide prayers and provide major relief to customers, and shipping lines, ease port congestion and help in reducing road traffic which has been causing severe congestion at the ports.