Transnet has opened the sale of slots on two key corridors on its rail network to third parties.
The embattled railway service provider announced on Friday that interested and qualifying operators are invited to respond.
“This is a significant step in the rail reform process and advances the increased use of rail for the transportation of freight, as envisaged in the Draft White Paper on the National Rail Policy (2017),” said Transnet in a statement.
The slot system will enable third parties to operate key parts of the railway, but the ownership will remain under Transnet.
The Container Corridor which runs between Gauteng and Durban and the South Corridor which runs from Gauteng to East London, is open for this first phase of third party access for a 24-month period between 2022 and 2024.
“The two corridors are key for South Africa’s main growth sectors, particularly manufacturing, the automotive industry and agriculture,” said Transnet.
The Container Corridor links the Port of Durban to the Gauteng economic hub through an extensive rail network of roughly 714km.
The railway connection between Transnet’s container terminals in the Port of Durban and Transnet’s inland terminals in City Deep, Kascon, Pretcon, Kaalfontein, and several accredited private sidings in Gauteng, is crucial to expanding the custom bonded facilities network beyond the port.
“This is critical to supply chain efficiencies and reducing congestion in the Port of Durban.
The South Corridor provides a strategic route between Gauteng and the ports of East London and indirectly Port Elizabeth, that can be customised and configured to suit the unique requirements of the rapidly expanding agricultural and automotive sectors,” explained the railway.
The sale of slots to third-party operators expands Transnet’s access to Prasa, approved Branch Line Operators, the luxury hospitality services provided by Rovos Rail and the Blue Train and Steam Train Operators to the rail network.
Compiled by Narissa Subramoney