Transnet to Raise Coal-Train Deliveries 17% to Richards Bay
Transnet SOC Ltd., the South African state port and rail-freight operator, plans to boost coal train deliveries to the Richards Bay Coal Terminal by 17 percent in 2011, according to Chief Executive Officer Brian Molefe.
Shipments will reach 74 million metric tons of coal, Molefe said today in an interview, up from last year’s 63 million tons and compared with the terminal’s annual capacity of 91 million tons. Stockpiles at Africa’s largest export facility for the fuel have risen to about 5 million tons currently, he said.
“With the stockpiles increasing like that, there is a distant possibility that we may have to hold back what we rail to Richards Bay” by the fiscal year-end in March, Molefe said.
Stocks totaled 3.6 million tons at the end of November, up 20 percent from the 3 million tons at the same point last year, the company said in a statement on its website yesterday.
South Africa and Swaziland will sign an accord in the next two weeks to build a rail link allowing increased shipments to the terminal, Molefe said. “An agreement has been drafted,” he said. “The lawyers are working on some minor changes.”
The link, costing about 12.3 billion rand ($1.5 billion), will allow Transnet to remove general freight from the Richards Bay coal line and boost shipments to the terminal to 95 million tons a year in the next five to six years, Molefe said Oct. 26.
State-run Swaziland Railway is in “quite a good financial position” and has funding offers for its 7.3 billion rand part of the project, he said today in Richards Bay. “They seem to think that the finance for the link will not be a problem.”
Transnet aims to spend its 25.8 billion rand capital budget in the year ending March, Molefe said. The five-year expenditure program is under review, to be unveiled in January, he said.
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