South Africa's iron-ore railway to be shut down for annual maintenance

12th September 2018 By: Reuters

The main railway line along South Africa's iron-ore corridor will be shut down for annual maintenance from September 26 to October 2, State-owned freight logistics firm Transnet said on Wednesday.

The railway line that stretches up to 861 km (534 miles) from iron-ore mines at Sishen in the Northern Cape to the Saldanha port in the Western Cape is South Africa's main link for iron-ore exports.

"There will be no traffic flowing on the line during this period as this is a pre-planned exercise following consultations with customers," Transnet's Freight Rail unit said in a statement.

The maintenance work will involve replacing old and obsolete equipment as part of plans to ramp up capacity on the line, Transnet said.

Railed iron ore, sourced mainly from Kumba mines, totalled 57.2-million tonnes last year versus a target of 60-million tonnes as mine production and other technical problems hurt rail volumes, the logistics firm said.

Kumba reported a sharp drop in its interim earnings in July, and flagged problems with the rail network, which like other state-run sectors of the economy has suffered from mismanagement and underinvestment.