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South Africa’s State-owned Logistics Company Can’t Handle the Load

Transnet said on Monday it was suspending processing trucks carrying coal to its Richards Bay terminal in order to restore order after unprecedented traffic coming into the port. A surge in demand for coal in Europe and Asia over the past two years, and particularly since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, has brought hundreds of trucks onto the route leading to South Africa’s main coal export terminal in Richards Bay on the east coast. The high volumes of trucks rolling into the port were disrupting business, causing congestion on the roads and raising safety problems for the municipal authorities, officials said. The company is struggling to provide sufficient freight rail and port capacity to transport bulk minerals coal, iron ore, manganese and chrome to export markets as its rail operations are hobbled by shortages of locomotives and spares as well as cable theft and vandalism. Ports operated by Transnet have also struggled with bad weather and underinvestment in equipment.