The Road Freight Association (RFA) notes the collision of two coal trains on the Richards Bay ore line.
Whilst Transnet reports no serious injuries or fatalities, it further notes that the cause of the incident is unknown and will be investigated.
However, the event underscores the vulnerability of the multi-ore line due to the inherent risks of outdated manual systems and poor operational control.
There are reports in some media that load-shedding is to blame for the incident. Why this would cause the incident is unclear and the RFA does not have the information as to what exactly caused this incident.
The derailment will take some time to clear – at least a few days – which will have an effect on the pressure to send bulk ore by road.
There will need to be investigation into what damage was caused to the line and direct systems (eg signalling and power supply), but more importantly, how such a recurrence can be prevented.
An example of preventing such occurences where loadshedding may indeed cause such incidents – then sustainable electricity supply to all sections of the line must be secured as and when required.
Once again, the RFA notes that the key logistical networks, infrastructure and operations must provide an efficient, reliable, sustainable and revenue generation logistics chain for the businesses and citizens of South Africa.
By Gavin Kelly – CEO: The Road Freight Association