Transnet, the state-owned freight and logistics entity, is poised for a significant infrastructure investment of R160 billion. This investment will support Transnet’s ambitious expansion plans, which span across rail, ports, and pipelines. The funds will be used to improve efficiency, enhance capacity, and strengthen Transnet’s position as a major player in the region’s transportation industry.

By Staff Reporter

After conducting a comprehensive internal diagnostic assessment in late 2023, Transnet devised an ambitious investment plan aimed at addressing the prevailing infrastructure obstacles affecting South Africa’s port and rail systems.

The plan involves dedicating a significant R160 billion budget to the execution of improvements and upgrades across the entire network.

This substantial financial commitment is expected to enable Transnet to improve efficiency, reliability, and capacity for sustained expansion and to address the persistent issues impacting the country’s import and export sectors.

In an opinion piece on, David Jacobs, the Chief Director of Cluster Communication at the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), stated that enhancements to the country’s ports are part of the broader investments in logistics infrastructure aimed at addressing sluggish turnaround times.

“Our logistics infrastructure investments also extend to our nation’s ports as we address slow turnaround times. Following an internal diagnostic review by Transnet, there are plans to invest R160 billion to address the infrastructure.  

“It includes procuring 16 gantry cranes and the acquisition of four ship-to-shore cranes to address slow turnaround times affecting the docking and offloading of containers at the port. Transnet also plans to deepen and lengthen two berths at its Durban Container Terminal Pier 2 which handles about 65 percent of the country’s containerised cargo as part of efforts to ease backlogs,” wrote Jacobs.

In 2023, serious concerns arose about the declining state of the state-owned logistics company, which was facing considerable congestion and operational disruptions at its ports across the country.

Last year in November, equipment malfunctions and adverse weather conditions caused a major crisis at the Port of Durban. As a result, numerous vessels and tens of thousands of containers caused a significant backlog.

According to the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF), the delays experienced at ports have resulted in significant financial losses for the South African economy, amounting to approximately R98 million a day. Furthermore, this unfortunate situation has also hindered the movement of goods worth approximately R7 billion.

However, experts have pointed out that although there were some positive developments in Transnet’s port operations, the substantial delays in investing in rail and port operations meant that Transnet alone would not be able to rapidly develop essential transportation infrastructure to support the economy.

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