Pretoria: The first train service to transport hematite products from Swaziland to South Africa’s Richards Bay will begin in November and is also expected to stimulate job creation, said Transnet Freight Rail (TFR).
“TFR has successfully implemented the first train service to transport hematite products from Mpaka in Swaziland to the Port of Richards Bay. The full service will commence from November with the 1 train per day service,” said Transnet.
TFR, which is a division of Transnet, said the service was designed to run seven trains a week, and the move was expected to add an estimated 1.2 million tons per annum to the logistics company’s annual railings.
Hematite contains 48% iron ore and is mined at Ngwenya Mine in Swaziland, the oldest hematite mine in the world. It is often used to make jewellery and ornaments.
TFR, together with its neighbour Swaziland Railway, renders the service to Salgaocar Swaziland, an international mining company and supplier of iron ore.
TFR chief executive Siyabonga Gama said the move would have a positive economic impact and strengthen relations between the two countries.
“The success of hematite transportation by rail forms part of TFR’s road to rail strategy, which aims to move rail friendly cargo from the roads as part of its broader market demand strategy. The service will stimulate job creation and increase capacity to meet Transnet’s market demand strategy and volume growth in the ports of Richards Bay, which currently handles high volumes of Chrome, Magnetite as well as rock phosphate.”
Hematite will be railed under the Mining Mineral and Chrome Business Unit, one of TFR’s six newly established business units which are more customer and commodity focused.
“This is an opportunity for Transnet Freight Rail to increase volumes from 17mt to 18.2mt for the Mineral Mining and Chrome Business Unit during this financial year.”
TFR is also exploring the opportunity to rail hematite from Swaziland to Maputo, to where its customer also sends some of its vessels.