Transnet profits jump by 71.2%, investment at R11.2bn

State owned enterprise Transnet reported a 71.2% jump in profits during the six months ended September while pressing ahead with its massive infrastructure development programme.

The transport utility reported yesterday that interim revenue rose by 14.3% to R28.5 billion and capital expenditure stood at R11.2bn.

Transnet emphasised that it achieved these results despite volatile and uncertain economic conditions worldwide.

The company said the growth in income for the period under review was driven by a 26% jump in containers and automotive on rail and by buoyant mineral and chrome volumes.

“The performance in containers and automotive on rail far exceeds economic growth, confirming that we are winning both market share and the battle to shift rail-friendly cargo off our roads”.

Coal line volumes were marginally up at 41.9 million tonnes (mt) during the first six months of the financial year. Tansnet said the growth was constrained by the longer than anticipated project work to increase rail capacity in Ermelo during our annual shutdown of the line for maintenance.

“We are beginning to see the benefits of the extra maintenance work on our operations, which has improved efficiencies. Thanks to management interventions and innovations like Project Shongololo on the coal line, our weekly tempos have improved from an average of 1,4 mt to 1,8 mt in the second quarter of the financial year”.

We are working with our customers on key issues like ensuring that trains are loaded timeously, and we are confident of maintaining the improved rate until the end of the financial year”.

Iron ore and manganese were  flat at 31,4 mt during this period, mainly due to lower than expected production from the iron ore mines in the Northern Cape, which are currently experiencing operational challenges.  On our side, we are moving 100% of what is made available to us and expect to be slightly above last year’s volume for the full year”.

At the ports, containers increased by an impressive 9,4% in the period under review despite various challenges, including teething problems associated with the newly installed tandem lift cranes in Durban. We expect to maintain the growth momentum into the second half of the year”.

Petroleum volumes for our pipelines unit declined by 1,5% as a result of lower economic activity and therefore less demand for fuel in Gauteng”.

The company said the solid performance during the first half of the year enabled us to continue executing our capital investment programme despite slower demand due to lower global economic expectations. “We spent R11.2 billion (excluding capitalised borrowing costs) during the period –­ R5 billion was for the expansion of infrastructure and equipment, while R62 billion was invested in maintaining capacity”.

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