WINDHOEK – Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) and TransNamib are working on a renewed and strengthened partnership in order to position the railway as the preferred mode of transport for bulk freight. This is the outcome of last week’s high-level visit by Transnet represented by Lloyd Tobias, Chief Operating Officer and Albert Links, Executive Manager for International Business to TransNamib’s Chief Executive Officer Johny Smith and his executive team.
TFR is South Africa’s rail transport company and ranks as Africa’s top rail operator and the world’s ninth biggest. The Namibian rail network is only connected to South Africa as the neighbouring country. The partnership is looking at opportunities on how to restore confidence in rail which is referred to as the Road to Rail Strategy and the seamless movement of goods between the two countries.
The main focus of the partnership is to explore how the companies can grow some of the trade volumes between South Africa and Namibia back onto the rail. Currently more than 3 million tonnes of cargo move between the two countries which is seen as an opportunity for TransNamib to grow its rail line connection to the south that is currently limited in terms of movement of trains.
“We are also looking at how the two train operating firms can develop the export market from the Northern Cape Province in South Africa via the port of Lüderitz. This is in line with the strategy of TransNamib to reintroduce the train service between Keetmanshoop and Lüderitz,” reads a statement from TransNamib.
Some of the other areas of cooperation include optimisation of operations through better efficiency, joint customer engagements and cross-border assistance in pricing and billing and human capital training and development programmes.
As the TRF and TransNamib teams will start to meet regularly with benchmarking visits henceforth, Tobias expressed optimism in the renewed partnership and said: “It is about business. We can share some of our experiences with TransNamib.” Johny Smith conveyed his excitement and indicated that the partnership with TFR is ideal in order to support TransNamib’s strategic focus.