SOUTH AFRICA – The South African government cabinet has approved the Freight Logistics Roadmap aimed at addressing the serious challenges in that industry for publication.

The Freight Logistics Roadmap is a strategic blueprint aimed at addressing critical challenges within the country’s logistics industry.

This comprehensive plan aims to revamp and reform the logistics system for long-term sustainability.

Transnet, the government-owned freight rail, ports, and logistics company, has been actively addressing severe truck congestion issues at the Richard’s Bay port. Efforts have included enhancing locomotive availability along the port’s servicing lines.

During a recent post-Cabinet media briefing, Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, emphasized the significant constraints posed by current industry challenges on the South African economy, growth potential, and job creation.

“The immediate focus is on stabilizing and enhancing the operational performance of the freight rail network, crucial for overcoming export hurdles,” stated Ntshavheni.

“The roadmap’s short-term interventions will be channeled through five corridors, aligning with Transnet’s approved turnaround plan to improve operations and stabilize finances.”

The roadmap delineates three key intervention areas the first one being operations and Rolling Stock Improvements which involves restoring long-standing locomotives to service through agreements with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) for spare parts supply or by engaging alternative OEMs.

The second strategy entails security and safety of the Rail Network which is a collaborative effort with law enforcement agencies to ensure network safety.

Capital Investment Programme is the final intervention that encompasses expansion plans and sustenance of operations.

Ntshavheni highlighted the roadmap’s alignment with the National Rail Policy and the National Commercial Ports Policy, emphasizing plans for freight logistics system reform.

Simultaneously, the Draft Rail Private Sector Participation (PSP) Framework has received cabinet approval.

The framework intends to pave the way for private sector involvement in the railway infrastructure system, starting with rectifying existing infrastructure challenges.

“The Rail PSP Framework advocates for cooperative governance and an integrated approach to rail private sector participation,” added Ntshavheni, noting compliance with legal regulations.

The Department of Transport is set to establish a PSP unit responsible for identifying, prioritizing projects, and devising an implementation strategy to facilitate private sector initiatives within the rail sector.

Transnet’s recovery has evidently taken an upward trajectory with several measures, policies, and investments set up to steer growth its growth.

The most recent promising deal was the recently sealed pivotal seven-year deal with four Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to tackle the issue of equipment availability across its terminals, particularly emphasizing the Durban Container Terminal (DCT) Pier 2.

This comprehensive agreement, months in the making, is anticipated to significantly bolster straddle carrier availability by approximately 30% at DCT Pier 2 within the next fortnight.

Earle Peters, the Managing Executive of TPT at the Durban Terminals, affirmed the critical impact of this relief on expediting container offloading from vessels.

Amidst a recovery strategy gaining traction, DCT Pier 2 has pivoted towards amplifying handled volumes per 24-hour cycle.

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