The five-year agreement was signed on March 26 on the sidelines of the fifth BRICS Summit held in Durban and includes cooperation on local manufacturing of equipment especially for the rail and ports sectors. The deal also includes a collaborative agreement on future research and development initiatives, manufacturing, marketing and the construction of cross-border infrastructure throughout the Africa continent.

"The agreement will enable us to explore innovative funding options as we pursue our borrowing plan, focusing on cost-effective solutions and diversity," says Mr Brian Molefe, Transnet chief executive.

Transnet says it is raising the funds for its investment programme through a combination of internal resources and money raised in capital markets. The investments in railways, ports and pipelines are intended to boost exports.