Transnet, the majority South African government owned rail, port and pipeline company has reported improved revenue figures for the six months to September 2016 despite the weak economic conditions affecting volumes of cargoes handled.

The logistics giant Monday announced that revenue rose 1.2 per cent to 32.6 billion Rand (about 2.43 billion US dollars) for half-year to Sept 30. Operating expenses were contained to a 2.3 per cent increase, as a result of cost-cutting measures including a moratorium on filling non-critical posts.

Transnet attributed its revenue increase to a rise in volumes of railway containers and automotive cargoes. The increased revenue was a result of concerted efforts to shift rail-friendly cargo from road to rail.

The logistics giant said volume performance was 5.0 percent below the prior period because of the global economic slowdown which had resulted in key customers deferring expansionary programmes, which in turn negatively affected Transnet’s own expansionary capital spending for the period.

The company that said going forward it would be investing in mergers and acquisition opportunities to expand its services.

Transnet also said that while it had maintained an investment grade credit rating, it might be affected by a sovereign rating. While it dids not believe South Africa would be downgraded, it had, however, begun negotiations with lenders to prepare for any eventuality.

Transnet said it repaid 17.2 billion Rand of debt during the period and is on track with its infrastructure investment programmes.