New rail line to be operated by South Africa rail and ports company Transnet to start running in mid-2017; 146-km single-track line from Lothair, South Africa, to Sidvokodvo, Swaziland, will accommodate 150-wagon trains, cost US$1.65B

, May 13, 2014 (press release) – A new rail line to be operated by Transnet SOC Ltd. and Swaziland Railway will start running by mid-2017 as the South African rail and ports company boosts capacity to haul more freight to ports.

The project will cost about 17 billion rand ($1.65 billion), Swaziland Railway Chief Executive Officer Stephenson Ngubane said in an interview in Johannesburg today. “It’s going to be general freight. It can be minerals, agricultural produce and forestry products.”

Transnet, based in Johannesburg and owned by the South African government, is rolling out a 300-billion rand infrastructure investment program over seven years, with two- thirds of the amount to be spent on rail, it’s biggest source of revenue. The new railway through landlocked Swaziland will help Transnet boost haulage of coal to Richards Bay Coal Terminal, the world’s biggest, Ngubane said.

The 146-kilometer single-track line from Lothair, South Africa, to Sidvokodvo, in Swaziland, will accommodate 150-wagon trains, each carrying about 12,000 metric tons of cargo, he said. The technical feasibility study will be completed by November, according to Cleopatra Shiceka, general manager in the office of the CEO at Transnet Freight Rail.

“Financing modalities are yet to be determined,” Ngubane said. “Each country will see how they will finance their own portions.”



To contact the reporter on this story: Kamlesh Bhuckory in Johannesburg at kbhuckory@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Thiel at sthiel1@bloomberg.net John Bowker, Alex Devine

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