Transnet says freight rail operations coming right

Brian Molefe, CEO of Transnet, went before the portfolio committee on transport regarding the utility’s annual financials and reported that cash generated from operations was up 24% to R18.3bn for 2011/12, being the year under review, and that the Transnet balance sheet recorded a profit of R4.1bn, Transfreight Rail providing around half the revenue.

Mostly importantly he advised (9/10/2012) that in the light of the strong balance sheet, Transnet would be able to borrow for future capital expansion without government guarantees. On the subject of freight improvements he said that coal freight for 2011/12 was up 8.8%, iron ore was up 13.2%, and gross tonnes per kilometre productivity was improved by 1%.

Although maritime container volumes had increased, Molefe said, Pier 2 in Durban had experienced a decline during the current refurbishment period, new cranes having been ordered to improve the position.

Karl Socikwa, Transnet Port Terminals, however, told parliamentarians that productivity issues with Durban container terminal in general was improving and that the “the dwell time of ships were now three to four days.” With the replacement of cranes now being undertaken “Pier 2 was basically a construction site at present”, he said.

In his general report, CEO Molefe said that petroleum volumes decreased by 7.1% because of “industry supply problems” and the Durban – Johannesburg pipeline usage decreased by 8.8%.

On equity issues he said that the Transnet workforce was currently made up of 78.5% blacks and 21.5% whites with 78% being males and 22% being females and that the human resources division would take on sixty engineering trainees, 181 technician trainees and 854 artisan trainees. Training accounted for 3.9% of personnel costs. The total number of employers was 50 992 which pushed up the total employed by 6.6%.

On the subject of reduced revenue experienced by Transnet Pipelines for the period 2011/12, Charl Möller, chief executive, said much of the slowdown in volumes passing through what was known as NMPP was mainly as a result of the slowdown in economic activity; various market changes; improved fuel efficiency and the introduction of Gautrain.

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