Home » South Africa’s Coal Transport Security Boosts Efficiency, Transnet Reports

South Africa’s Coal Transport Security Boosts Efficiency, Transnet Reports

Decline in Rail Line Incidents Spurs Improved Coal Export Performance

by Ikeoluwa Ogungbangbe
South Africa's Coal Transport Security

In an encouraging development for South Africa’s coal export industry, Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) has reported a significant decline in security incidents on coal transport lines to the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT). Acting TFR CE Russell Baatjies, during a question time at RBCT’s media briefing, highlighted this improvement as a crucial factor in enhancing overall performance.

Furthermore, TFR is advancing the gradual replacement of overhead catenary copper cables, which supply electricity to locomotives on the coal line, with aluminium conductor steel reinforced (ACSR) cables. “We’re tackling hot-spot areas as quickly as possible,” Baatjies stated.

Copper cables, frequently targeted for their scrap metal value, are part of the ongoing changeout plan, executed during annual maintenance shutdowns. “It’s a step-by-step process due to the vastness of the network,” added TFR executive manager Moloko Matjekane.

Despite ACSR cables lacking the same conductivity level as copper, they suffice to keep the rail network operational. The plan is to eventually replace copper cables across the entire network.

Thieves, however, still often mistake ACSR cables for copper, leading to unnecessary damage. Efforts are underway to visually differentiate these cables and to provide signage to deter criminal activity.

In response to vulnerable relay rooms and substations, TFR has introduced new technology for early detection of predatory behavior, enabling quicker protective responses. “We’ve made several arrests and are enhancing our intelligence operations to improve convictions,” Baatjies revealed.

Transnet is also in discussions to extend its security relationship with RBCT, following a game-changing cooperation agreement signed last November. An upcoming pilot project will explore the use of rail line fibre-optic cabling for monitoring and quick tampering detection.

Various regulatory bodies are assessing the crime-related impact on the coal line, with several emerging processes expected to provide valuable intelligence. “Focus on the judicial system is key to ensuring effective prosecution of criminals,” said RBCT CEO Alan Waller.

Waller also noted the importance of strategic intelligence in tackling issues related to scrap metal dealerships and other security challenges. Regular meetings between Transnet’s security team and service providers are part of this intelligence-gathering effort.

This combined approach by TFR, RBCT, and their partners is yielding positive results, with a noticeable decrease in security incidents leading to improved efficiency in South Africa’s coal export operations. The commitment to enhancing rail line security and intelligence is pivotal in maintaining the country’s position as a leading coal exporter.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

The African Miner is the vanguard of the mining industry, delivering world-class insight and news.

Latest Stories

© 2024 The African Miner. All Rights Reserved.