Transnet breaks own record with manganese test train

Transnet’s Sishen-Saldanha iron-ore train is no longer the longest heavy hauler in the world.

A strong statement of intent for ascending bulk freight capacity was made by Transnet Freight Rail (TRF) on the eve of the annual conference of the International Heavy Haul Conference (IHHA) in Norway.

Speaking ahead of the conference that gets under way tomorrow in the arctic-circle town of Narvik, the parastatal said the previous world record of running the world’s longest production train in the world – the four kilometre 342-wagon iron-on train between Sishen and Saldanha – had been broken.

But the new record is not by one of South Africa’s heavy haul competitors: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, India, Norway, Russia, Sweden or the US.

The new record, one train consisting of 375 wagons used to haul bulk minerals, was set when TFR successfully engaged in a “manganese test”.

The statement said an increase in manganese in South Africa had necessitated the trial, and came after “Transnet’s share of manganese grew from 9.6 million tonnes some two to three years ago, to 14.01 million tonnes currently”.

Elaborating on the Narvik conference where industry 4.0 efficiencies will dominate discussions, TFR general manager Brian Monakali, who also chairs the IHHA, said “Transnet will remain inspired to be part of a global rail community and we are excited to share our knowledge” of successful heavy haulage.

What’s interesting though is that Transnet board chair Popo Molefe, who is accompanying Monakali, recently identified TFR as one of the state-owned company’s most troubled divisions, held back by capacity issues from reaching optimal throughput.


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