Transnet agrees deal with Mozambique, Swaziland

Sep 22, 2014 12:00 AM

Transnet, South Africa’s state-owned rail operator, agreed to a deal with Mozambique and Swaziland to boost rail co-operation and ease the delivery of coal exports through harbours to India and Brazil.

Government-owned companies from the three countries agreed to manage a joint-operating centre from Maputo, the Mozambique capital, Transnet said today in a statement handed to reporters.

The entity will oversee the freight-rail route from Maputo through Swaziland to Richards Bay Coal Terminal, north of Durban in South Africa.

“The Maputo corridor is set to grow rapidly,” Johannesburg-based Transnet said.

“A double digit percentage cargo growth is expected at the Maputo ports over the next three years.”

While South Africa is rolling out a 312 billion rand infrastructure-development program to improve its rail network, Mozambique is struggling with aging equipment.

The southeast African country has a $17 billion (R190 billion) pipeline of projects to improve ports and rail infrastructure, according to the Transport Ministry.

“It is one way of unlocking the backlog,” Thabi Leoka, an economist at Renaissance BJM Securities, said in an interview before the announcement.

“You need coordination between governments, which is not happening as quickly as private operators would expect.”

Transnet, Caminhos de Ferro de Mocambique, Swaziland Railway and the Maputo Port Development Corporation are the four companies included in the agreement.

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