Ghost trains hobble South African ports

By Arijit Ghosh (Bloomberg) Transnet SOC is investigating the existence of illegal freight trains that are draining revenue from South Africa’s state railway operator.

The logistics companies, which are struggling to move coal and iron ore, said the “ghost trains” are not officially planned by the company.

“Given that these serious allegations have not yet been accompanied by supporting evidence, Transnet has referred the allegations for independent investigation,” it said in a statement Monday. If the allegations are “confirmed, Transnet will act quickly”.

The alleged illegal train movements are another headache for Transnet, which also operates the country’s main ports and fuel pipelines. The company has been hampered by a shortage of locomotive parts, theft of wires used to run its electric trains, and inefficiencies created by its monopoly. This hurts South African miners and exporters.

Thungela Resources Ltd., South Africa’s largest exporter of thermal coal, said on Monday that Transnet congestion is expected to see sales fall for a second year.

By Arijit Ghosh © 2023 Bloomberg LP

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