South Africa seeks to end security threat to key coal rail line

Credit: Transnet SOC Ltd.

South Africa’s state-owned Transnet Freight Rail said it will meet with community leaders and police in an effort to end disruptions to a key export railway line for coal and other minerals.

A train carrying coal on the North Corridor line that runs from inland deposits of the fuel to the Richards Bay Coal Terminal derailed near Ulundi in Kwazulu-Natal province on Tuesday, the company said in a statement. The incident adds to concerning “threats and disruptions to its operations” in areas along the line. The rail operator will meet with local community leaders and the police, in an effort to resolve the issues.

Parent company Transnet SOC Ltd. has struggled to improve its performance, especially in delivering commodities to shipping terminals. The threats to the North Corridor line follow less than a month after a wage strike that paralyzed South Africa’s freight rail and port network, just as coal mining companies look to make the most of surging prices.

Thungela Resources Ltd., the nation’s biggest shipper of coal burned in power stations, was notified of the derailment, a spokeswoman said. “We await further details from TFR and can then assess the potential impact.”

(By Paul Burkhardt)

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