Investment reached a five-year high of Rand 22.3bn in the last financial year, 65% of which was directed at rail, and CEO Mr Brian Molefe says the company expects to raise capital expenditure to Rand 32bn is projected for the coming year but this could be revised owing to market conditions. However, Moelfe stressed that Transnet would cut no more than Rand 50bn from its seven-year Market Demand Strategy investment programme (IRJ May p6), regardless of the performance of the global economy.

Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) carried 201 million tonnes of freight during the financial year, an unprecedented 10.4% increase over the previous year. General freight volumes rose by 9.9% to 81 million tonnes, which Transnet attributes more disciplined operation of trains, with an 18% improvement in punctuality. Export iron ore volumes increased 13.2% from 46.2 million tonnes to 52.3 million tonnes, while the Richards Bay heavy-haul coal line saw volumes rise 8.8% from 62.2 million tonnes to 67.7 million tonnes. Overall, TFR revenues increased 22.3% year-on-year from Rand 22.6bn to R27,7 bn.

The rail engineering division, Transnet Rail Engineering, is always a success story monetarily. The last financial year was no exception – its external revenue was the most illuminating with a staggering 123.4% increase to Rand 1.5bn, fuelled by the increasing demand of wagons as well as coaches to the Passenger Rail Agency (PRASA) and rolling stock sales into the broader African market.