New rail system links vital trade route

Rail network

Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) has successfully implemented the first train service to transport hematite products from Mpaka in Swaziland to the Port of Richards Bay. Hematite contains 48% iron ore and is mined at Ngwenya Mine in Swaziland, the oldest hematite mine in the world. 

TFR together with its neighbour Swaziland Railway provides the service to Salgaocar Swaziland, an international mining company and supplier of Iron Ore.

It is designed to run seven trains per week, departing from Mpaka (Swaziland) to the Port of Richards Bay. The move is expected to add an estimated 1.2 million tons per annum to TFR’s annual railings. 

TFR is also exploring the opportunity of railing hematite from Swaziland to Maputo which is also used by its customer.

“The success of hematite transportation by rail forms part of TFR’s road to rail strategy which aims to move rail friendly cargo from the roads as part of its broader market demand strategy," said TFR CEO Siyabonga Gama.

"The service will stimulate job creation and increase capacity to meet Transnet’s market demand strategy and volume growth in the port of Richards Bay, which currently handles high volumes of chrome, magnetite as well as rock phosphate.”

Hematite falls under the Mining Mineral and Chrome Business Unit, one of TFR’s six newly established business units which are more customer and commodity focused. 

"This is an opportunity for Transnet Freight Rail to increase volumes from 17mt to 18.2mt for the Mineral Mining and Chrome Business Unit during this financial year. The full service will commence from November with the one train per day service," said Gama.

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This edition

Issue 2020