Transnet SOC Ltd is steaming ahead with its vision of being part of the top 5 railway companies in the world. A team of 25 engineers and operations executives led by the Transnet’s Chairperson Dr. Popo Molefe, are flying the South African flag high at the International Heavy Haul Association (IHHA) Conference currently underway in Norway this week.
The conference, themed “Heavy Haul 4.0 – Achieving Breakthrough Performance Levels”, started on the 10 June till 14 June 2019. The Transnet team under the leadership of IHHA’s global chairman Mr. Brian Monakali, is among the 180 technical experts to present papers on technological advancement on the competitiveness of heavy haul rail operations. Monakali is also a General Manger at Transnet Freight Rail, a division of Transnet.
Transnet Chairperson Dr. Popo Molefe said: “Despite recent challenges at Transnet related to malfeasance, the organisation remains a solid business, which is an anchor to our country’s economy. The IHHA Conference in Norway, is a great opportunity for Transnet and South Africa to showcase local technical and technology advancements to the global community. It is also an opportunity for us to learn the latest best practices from our global counterparts.”
South African Context
The technical papers will also reflect on the competitiveness of the South African heavy haul rail operations operated by Transnet, a state-owned company. The platform will provide these experts an opportunity to share and exchange knowledge and experience with other country-members of IHHA such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, India, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the US.
As one of the key players, Transnet, which operates more than 30 000 kilometres of rail network across the country, holds a record of the longest production train in the world. The four kilometres production train which runs from the Sishen in the Northern Cape to Saldahna, Western Cape, transports Iron Ore by using 342 wagons. Transnet has recently broken its own record by testing a 375-wagon manganese train representing a production train with the highest number of wagons in the world.
The successful testing of the 375-wagon train is informed by an increase in the production of manganese in South Africa. Transnet’s share of manganese grew from 9.6 million tons in 2016/17 to 14.01 million tons in 20187/19. “As Transnet we remain inspired to be part of the global rail community and we are excited to share our knowledge on the matter. Our participation, especially on the level of chairmanship illustrates that the international rail community recognises Transnet’s strengths on rail operations,” said Monakali. Now that the association has developed a common global vision for 2030, the next step would be to move towards implementation, including identifying areas of strategic research to be undertaken at various railway organisations, research institutions and universities in different countries, added Monakali.