Johannesburg – At the recent Investing in African Mining Indaba Transnet group CEO Portia Derby told delegates that the state rail freight company seeks to establish itself on the African continent, which would yield benefits for the South African economy and also other African nations.
Establishment of Transnet International Holdings in 2018; a Transnet Group subsidiary, was a critical part of investing in the revival of the SA economy and industrialisation of the rest of Africa, Derby said.
Key projects include a rail revitalisation programme in the North South Rail Corridor connecting rail networks in Southern Africa, and also in Ghana.
Derby said Transnet needs to establish South Africa as a key investor in the continent.
“The South African economy reaps little benefit from the $104 billion in Chinese exports the continent receives. Exports to the continent from China are substantial, but in terms of logistics, South Africa gets little of that. There is no reason why we can’t be the queens of trans-shipment,” she said.
She added that the company is looking to position itself as a driver of increasing intra-Africa trade, as European and Chinese economies traded more with the African continent than it did with itself.
“The investment in infrastructure would be a catalyst for growth in African economies. Jobs are the key challenge in the South African economy, not growth. If we can get developments going so that people get employed, the economy will grow,” Derby said.
She added that another key objective for Transnet is to improve the transportation systems for Eskom’s coal with its rail network.
Transnet chief customer officer Mike Fanucchi said the company has a long-term strategic goal of transporting 50% more coal for Eskom through its extensive rail network, as Eskom continues to try and move its coal transport off road.
“We have a joint team between Eskom and Transnet looking at it. The programme looks at 32 million tonnes transported by rail in the next five years. We are looking at getting to 11 million tonnes this year,” he said.