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: 2020-10-01

Overview


 

2018


 

2019 (estimated)

2020

(projected)

2021

(projected)

Total Market Size

995,000

995,000

750,000

700,000

Total Local Production

130,000

130,000

140,000

140,000

Total Exports

54,000

54,000

55,000

55,000

Total Imports

1,120,000

1,000,000

700,000

800.000

Imports from the U.S.

430,000

420,000

320,000

280,000

Exchange Rate: 1 $

14.14
 

14.58
 


 

 

Unit: $thousand

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, signalling 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, due to be fully commissioned in 2023 or later, is valued at $15 billion.  Implementation announcements around the Tambo Springs inland container terminal to be built in Ekurhuleni to the east of Johannesburg have been made: www.tambosprings.co.za

In view of declining bulk exports, the 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 and network expansion/concession models.

A multibillion-Rand deal with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) to provide funding and expertise for Transnet’s private sector participation program was formalized in 2015.  The agreement will pave the way for DBSA to co-fund preparatory and strategic support for Transnet projects, including the manganese common user loading facility in the Northern Cape and the Grootvlei coal loading structure in Mpumalanga Province.

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 Signalling and Operations Automation
  • Automatic Fare Collection Systems
  • Rolling Stock Depot Design

Web Resources

Tambo-Springs

http://www.tambosprings.co.za/hub-areas/rail-road-and-intermodal/?id=13

http://www.l2b.co.za/Projects/Project/View/5f7d2b48-ed10-4daa-b1f2-f2b7a2592a72

Transnet

http://www.transnet.co.za

Rail-Road Association

http://www.rra.co.za

Richard Bay Coal Terminal Consortium

http://www.rbct.co.za

Transnet Ports Authority

http://www.transnetnationalportsauthority.net/

Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa

http://www.prasa.com/contactdetails.aspx

Exhibitions:

Africa Rail 2020 Conference and Exhibition

October 19-20, 2020

Sandton Convention Center, Johannesburg

https://www.terrapinn.com/exhibition/africa-rail/index.stm

 

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:

http://export.gov/southafrica/index.asp.