South Africa - Country Commercial Guide
Rail Infrastructure

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-09-11

Overview


 

2019

2020

(estimated)

2021

(projected)

2022

(projected)

Total Market Size

995,000

750,000

700,000

700,000

Total Local Production

130,000

140,000

140,000

150,000

Total Exports

54,000

55,000

55,000

58,000

Total Imports

1,000,000

700,000

800.000

750,000

Imports from the U.S.

420,000

320,000

280,000

230,000

Exchange Rate: 1 $

14.58
 

16.44
 

 

 

Total Market Size = (Total Local Production + Total Imports) – (Total Exports)

Note: Above figures exclude the value of the independent Richards Bay coal terminal consortium upgrades and multi-year diesel and electric locomotives roll-out confirmed in 2010 and 2014.  Figures also exclude related road, highway, and port/maritime investments.  Figures are unofficial estimates obtained from press and industry sources.

South Africa has the best rail infrastructure in Africa. However, rail (freight and passenger) and port capacity shortages remain a severe constraint in domestic and regional trade, even in the currently constrained business environment. The South African Government has announced plans to spend R900 billion by 2027 on transportation infrastructure, although project implementation has been slow and may be reviewed to ensure good governance and sustainability. The authorities seem intent on addressing failings in the rail environment and have made progress in streamlining the freight and passenger network on the 3’6” Cape gauge with new tractive systems, carriages, hoppers, signaling and fare collection systems, but internal inefficiencies and administered rail tariffs have made competing against road freight difficult. Feasibility studies to expand the 4’8” gauge Gautrain high speed passenger rail project in Pretoria and Johannesburg across Gauteng Province have been completed but implementation may only start over the medium term.

Opportunities

The Tambo Springs greenfield multimodal rail, road, and air hub in Gauteng Province, valued at $15 billion. Is currently being held in abeyance, despite repeated announcements: www.tambosprings.co.za

State-owned Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) and others are reviewing logistic (mostly rail, but also ports) projects such as upgrading the Sishen-Saldanha Bay ore line, the Richard Bay coal line and other new coal line networks in the north-west. Transnet’s rail and port projects were set to cost around R300 billion over seven years and include augmenting the tractive and bulk car fleet, signaling, maintenance, advanced train management systems, increased line security and network expansion/concession models.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects

  • Transportation equipment and infrastructure:
  • Strategic Route Design and Network Planning
  • Business Model Analysis and Project Management
  • New and Refurbished Locomotives for African Railroad Operators
  • New Bulk Car and Other Dedicated Rolling Fleets
  • Smart Signaling and Operations Automation
  • Security and Surveillance Systems
  • Automatic Fare Collection Systems
  • Rolling Stock Depot Design

Resources

Tambo-Springs Multi-Modal Logistics Hub

Exhibitions:

Africa Rail Conference and Exhibition

20-21 October 2021 | Virtual Event

21-22 June 2022 | In-Person Event

Sandton Convention Center, Johannesburg

For More Information, the U.S. Commercial Service in Johannesburg, South Africa can be contacted via e-mail at:

Johan.vanRensburg@trade.gov

Phone: +27 11 290 3208; Fax: +27 11 884 0253, or visit our Website:

https://wwwtrade.gov/south-africa/