Transnet (South Africa)

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legal form State company
founding 1990
Seat Johannesburg , South AfricaSouth AfricaSouth Africa 
management Mohammed Mahomedy, CEO (acting);
Popo Molefe , Chairperson, Board of Directors
sales ZAR 34 billion (2009)
Branch logistics
Website (English)

Transnet is a South African company that operates railways , ports and pipelines . Transnet is majority owned by the South African state and is therefore controlled by the Department of Public Enterprises (German: Ministry of Public Enterprises).

Transnet in 1990 from the predecessor company was South African Transport Services (SATS) formed at the Spoornet , the former national railway company, South African Port Operations , which operated in South Africa ports, Petronet , a former Society for the transport of goods in pipelines, and other infrastructure companies were merged .

Transnet is based in the Carlton Center in Johannesburg .


The largest project in the early railway history of what is now South Africa was the establishment of the Nederlandsch-Zuid-Afrikaansche Spoorwegmaatschappij (NZASM) in June 1887 to build a railway between Pretoria and Delagoa Bay ( Delagoa Railway ). In the British-controlled Boer states, the Transvaal Colony and the Orange River Colony , a rail network was established that was under the administration of Central South African Railways (CSAR) / Sentraal-Suid-Afrikaanse Spoorweë from 1902 to 1910 .

On May 31, 1910, the state-owned railway company South African Railways and Harbors (SAR & H) / Suid-Afrikaanse Spoorweë en Hawens (SASH) was established in the course of the establishment of the South African Union . It took a few years for the originally three major rail networks in the Union to consolidate into a single structure. This took place after the formation of the government in 1924 and in connection with the initiative to establish further large state-owned companies.

In 1914 a railway line was built up to the border with German Southwest Africa ( Prieska - Nakop ). The route with a length of 229 kilometers was completed after just 82 days. As a result of the hostilities of the First World War in southern Africa, the South African Union took over the administration of the rail network in the abandoned German colony in 1915, but it was not integrated into the South African route network until 1922 by the League of Nations mandate area now known as South West Africa .

In October 1924 the first electrically powered test train drove in the province of Natal on the section from Ladysmith to Chieveley .

The first electrified lines went into operation in 1937. This affected two areas in the Witwatersrandgebiet Germiston - Wattles and Germiston - Alberton and the section between Glencoe and Volksrust on the Natal Main Line .

In the context of the global war economy in the Second World War , South Africa developed into an export country for industrial goods and the changed international demand for raw materials after the end of the war resulted in an enormous increase in raw material exports. In the mid-1950s, some railway lines were built in the country exclusively for transporting ore and coal.

After the founding of the Republic of South Africa in 1961, the now increasing industrial production in the country gave a further boost to the development of the railway industry. The first locally produced electric locomotive went into operation in 1963.

The 1970s began with an unprecedented record of heavy haulage by rail. In 1976 the Sishen – Saldanha ore railway and the Richards Bay Coal Line went into operation, which have since served as the logistical focal points of the country's raw material export policy. During this decade, the government gave rise to considerations for a structural reform of transport services throughout the country. As a result of related concepts, South African Transport Services (SATS) was formed in 1981 , under whose roof all state-relevant operations in the rail network, in the ports, road transport, aviation and pipelines were brought together. The newly formed state transport company was given a modified functional structure and was controlled by local management centers.

The name change from South African Railways and Harbors to South African Transport Services (SATS) / Suid-Afrikaanse Vervoerdienste (SAVD) took place in October 1981. Nine years later, on April 1, 1990, the company, which had previously been controlled by government and parliament, was changed into a joint stock company called Transnet Ltd. um, renaming the cargo transportation area back to Spoornet . Another corporate reform in 2007 brought about a standardization of existing structures and Spoornet has been called Transnet Freight Rail since then .

In 2016, CEO Brian Molefe was replaced by Siyabonga Gama. Both had business relationships with the Gupta family , Transnet had done business with their company Trillian Capital Partners , which the public protector Thuli Madonsela called state capture . In October 2018, Gama was dismissed without notice and temporarily replaced by Tau Morwe, who in turn had to give way in May 2019 to Mohammed Mahomedy, who is also serving on a temporary basis.


Transnet National Ports Authority

The Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), formerly the National Ports Authority , or NPA for short, develops and provides the infrastructure for eight port areas : in East London , in the port of Durban , the port of Cape Town , the port of Ngqura (Coega) and the port Richards Bay and Port Saldanha , as well as Mossel Bay and Port Elizabeth . Ngqura / Coega is the youngest seaport (in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality , Eastern Cape Province ) and has been expanding into a seaport since 2002.

Durban has the largest shipping traffic with 32 percent of the ship movements, followed by Cape Town and Richards Bay with 27 percent each and Port Elizabeth with 9 percent, Saldanha and East London each accounted for around 3 percent. One of the world's largest coal loading terminals is located in the port of Richards Bay.

The two core tasks of the TNPA are:

  • it provides a port infrastructure and
  • offers some services for port users, such as dredging, port navigation systems, ship repairs and port-related coastal and water surveillance.

The port infrastructure for the areas under the control of the TNPA is geared to the following five main groups of goods:

  • Containers / TEUs
  • Dry bulk , this includes coal, iron ore, manganese, chrome ore, copper, lead, sugar and wood chips,
  • Liquid bulk , which includes liquid petroleum products, liquid chemicals and vegetable oils,
  • Break-bulk , this includes fruits, steel, steel scrap, ferrous alloys, pig iron, fishery processed products as well
  • Automotive goods.

The TNPA activities are part of Transnet's Market Demand Strategy (MDS). According to this, port development is to be oriented towards the required, demanded capacities as well as efficient port handling processes and the geographical position of the individual ports is to be primarily pursued by the authority in order to strengthen them as leading overseas cargo handling centers.

Transnet port terminals

Transnet Port Terminals , formerly South African Port Operations (SAPO) (German: South African Port Operations ), operates RoRo terminals, container terminals and other port facilities in the ports operated by the National Ports Authority . With regard to the port in Maputo, there is a cooperation agreement with the Mozambican Maputo Ports Development Company .

Transnet Freight Rail

Transnet Freight Rail , abbreviated TFR (German: " Freight Railroad ") is the largest division of Transnet. It is the state railway company that operates and uses the South African rail network. TFR is the successor organization to the former South African Railways and operated under the name Spoornet between 1990 and 2007.

Transnet Rail Engineering

Transnet Rail Engineering , or TRE for short, builds locomotives , railroad cars and other components related to rail traffic.

Transnet pipelines

Transnet Pipelines , formerly Petronet , operates the South African pipeline network .

Special areas

The company also has three special areas. In detail there are: Transnet Property , Transnet Capital Projects and the Transnet Foundation .

social commitment

Transnet operates jointly with the University of Johannesburg , the rolling Polyclinic Phelophepa .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Department of Public Enterprises: State Owned Companies. Transnet . on (website of the ministry, English)
  2. ^ Transnet SOC Ltd: About us. Timeline . on
  3. ^ Transnet Freight Rail: Railway Country. 150 Years of Rail in South Africa . on (English)
  4. ^ Brian Molefe: the fall and fall of the Gupta's state capture kamikaze pilot. Daily Maverick, June 1, 2016, accessed February 18, 2018
  5. ^ Kyle Cowan: Transnet CEO's Dubai hotel stay: How Guptas got the bill., September 7, 2017, accessed February 18, 2018
  6. Siphelele Dludla: Gama fired as Transnez CEO., October 21, 2019, accessed January 19, 2020
  7. Terry Hutson: Mahomedy takes over from Morwe. on May 12, 2019, accessed January 19, 2020
  8. ^ Transnet SOC Ltd: Transnet National Ports Authority . on
  9. ^ National Ports Authority. on
  10. a b c Transnet: TNPA Overview. Core functions . on (English)
  11. Transnet: Transnet (Magazine 1 2012/2013). P. 3 on (PDF; 10.0 MB)