Railways Africa
Railways Africa Magazine discusses the activities of African railway operators and the supporting railway industry. Railways Africa has been providing railway news and rail-related business intelligence - focused specifically on the African continent since the early ’50s. Our platforms consist of - Railways Africa Live, Coffee with the editor, the immersive experience and our weekly and monthly publication. Our online premium platform provides project information as well as opportunities to our premium subscribers. We offer a compressive range of communication services to bring you closer to your customers in addition to research projects. You can find us on online and on the following social media platforms - YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. We look forward to bringing you closer to rail operators both private and public in Africa. #rail #railways #railwaysafrica
Status Update on Eswatini Railways
July 17, 2020 • 16 MIN
Nixon Dlamini joined as CEO of Eswatini Railways (previously known as Swazi Rail) in March this year, just as COVID-19 really started disrupting life here in Africa. The 300km railway network plays a pivotal role in feeding the regional railways within the SADC region. Nixon provides the latest details (stages) on current and new projects, specifically the Eswatini link, previously known as the Swazi rail link which links to South Africa, among others. The Eswatini link is a joint project between the governments of South Africa and Eswatini and includes South African based Transnet. Other projects include inland terminals and further details regarding this will be made available soon. #railway #railroad #eswatini
Transnet Engineering a solid future in the making!
August 28, 2020 • 14 MIN
The first time we spoke with Ralph Mills, Chief Executive at Transnet Engineering he had literally been in “office” for just over a week and in the midst of Covid-19 lockdown! One hundred days later, Ralph Mills is definitely a man with a plan!
The Opportunity To Revitalise The Rail Sector
September 4, 2020 • 26 MIN
Releasing Gibela’s first socio-economic impact survey, CEO Hector Danisa notes that R6.4-billion had been spent on local content in the four years since inception. This includes the construction of their facility. There are a few things that need to be put into context, especially the timeline as production starts to ramp up and of course how one goes about ensuring that this state-of-the-art facility has a life bigger than the Passenger Rail Agency once the contract is complete. There is no point going through this whole process if sustainability is undermined at the end. Hector answers questions about the future and what Gibela’s role is in terms of contributing to the revitalisation of the rail sector in South Africa.
Railway Industry Opinion On Open Access - Railways Africa
October 23, 2020 • 4 MIN
Phillippa Dean, editor of Railways Africa. Open access, public-private participation - will have a direct impact on the supply base in South Africa. It will enable Transnet to do more, including, earn more. Providing all the people of South Africa the ability to access a safe, reliable and predictable passenger rail service that will be part of an integrated public transport network.
Open Access Working Group
November 20, 2020 • 7 MIN
The RailRoad Association (RRA), recently issued an invitation to the rail industry, to participle in a working group that will focus on Open Access. Open Access to Transnet’s core network was announced by His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa, as part of South Africa's Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. Our Editor took a moment to chat to the RRA, CEO, Mesela Nhlapo to find out more about what the working group will be focusing on once the proposed intention, scope and terms have been finalised.
Hope For Passenger Rail in South Africa!
November 27, 2020 • 17 MIN
Ms Dikeledi Magadzi the Deputy Minister of Transport, joins our editor Phillippa Dean for a Coffee with the Editor, following the release of the Railway Safety Regulators Annual State of Safety Report. Vandalism, theft and encroachment on railway reserves amongst other things, have severely impacted PRASA. But, PRASA has a plan, a new board and the Department of Transport is by all account hands-on! Our conversation goes from key safety concerns how these will be addressed, progress on the modernization programme, and we even touch on concessions, new locomotives, drones, single ticketing systems and high-speed rail. Whilst safety remains a concern, and a top priority there is hope for PRASA. Enjoy. Railway Safety Regulator Release Railway Safety Statistics For 2019/20: https://www.railwaysafrica.com/news/railway-safety-regulator-release-railway-safety-statistics-for-2019-20
The Current State of Safety and the Role of the Railway Safety Regulator in Open Access
November 27, 2020 • 15 MIN
Acting CEO of the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR), Ms Tshepo Kgare in a Coffee with the Editor, discusses key highlights from the recently released State of Safety report. While theft and vandalism has had the greatest impact on the number of incidents, the biggest area of concern is around the safety of people, especially as we start trying to attract people back to rail. Personal safety will need to be addressed. The RSR is conducting research to be better placed, to provide the correct mitigation or approach to these issues. Another topic of concern is the increase in incidents as a result of people accessing the station, which talks to fare evasion and this obviously has a broader impact especially financially. The Minister of Transport has published the regulations on railway reserves which places an obligation on the operator to maintain and protect their railway reserves and will encourage partnerships with municipalities especially with it comes to spatial planning. Whilst the report looks at 2019/2020, it ends before the Covid shutdown, it will be interesting to see what the 2020/21 report will look like. Tshepo, discusses PRASA’s staged return to operations and the role the RSR has played. Then of course we talk about the role of RSR and open access! It is wonderful to hear the proactive steps that the RSR has taken to ensure that when open access comes in, that not only is the RSR prepared but that safety and associated risk as well as who is responsible for what, will be clearly understood. Enjoy. Railway Safety Regulator Release Railway Safety Statistics For 2019/20: https://www.railwaysafrica.com/news/railway-safety-regulator-release-railway-safety-statistics-for-2019-20 #Rail #Safety #SouthAfrica
Botswana Railways - 2020 Wrap Up And Plans For 2021
December 11, 2020 • 7 MIN
Although Leonard Makwinja role as CEO of Botswana Railways comes to an end soon, we really appreciate the time he made to go through the year that has been and the year ahead. We talk about the progress of railway projects, especially the Mmamabula-Lephalale line, which was announced in the mid-term review of the Governments National Development plan. We touch on their vision of internalising the maintenance of their rolling stock and the skills that need to be developed. This will add tremendous value to their business by being able to overhaul their own locomotives. We also discuss projects that were put on hold this year, including the signalling project, which was impacted by funding and the pandemic. Passenger services which have been suspended for some time looks set to be part of the 2021 revival, with a bit of luck! We do hope you enjoy and we wish Leonard all the best for his next chapter!
TransNamib - 2020 Wrap Up And Plans For 2021
December 14, 2020 • 8 MIN
Johny Smith - Chief Executive Officer - TransNamib Limited, talks to Railways Africa Magazine about the challenges brought by 2020 and what the plans are for 2021. Johny notes as do most, that 2020 has been a tough year, but the opportunities to look at and analyze their current situation and interrogate areas of improvement have been positive. The implementation of their business plan includes the process of overhauling 33 locomotives within their existing fleet and they are looking to procure 10 new locomotives. The procurement process is expected to begin early next year. The ultimate vision for TransNamib is to grow its freight volumes and revenue base. This starts with increasing volumes from manganese customers and connecting to their neighbours, specifically looking at moving freight from road-to-rail. The need to look at optimising and increasing volumes with current customers is key to their strategy as there is room for improvement. TransNamib is currently implementing a new operational system, replacing a system that is now more than 20 years old, and whilst being executed internally, this will lead to the next step such as executing the signalling project which has been on the cards for some time. The mining sector has not been negatively impacted by the pandemic aside from the initial lockdown aspect. From a passenger perspective, a few projects that have been put on hold this year, should restart in the new year. Of course, we had to ask, the potential additional private operators in Namibia? Enjoy the interview.
Coffee With The Editor - African Rail Industry Association
February 18, 2021 • 32 MIN
This week's Coffee with the Editor is with Mesela Nhlapo, CEO of the African Rail Industry Association, previously known as the Railroad Association. It is a long Coffee with the Editor, so make yourself comfortable as we cover many topics. Including, the recently established third party open access working group, opinions on the recent SONA, concessions, localisation, designation, the railway manufacturing sector, policy, PRASA and railway opportunities in Africa. Enjoy!
Commuter Rail Project for Namibia - Trans Auas Express
March 5, 2021 • 19 MIN
As a brief background Trans Auas Express (TAE) founded in 1994, drafted a project proposal to the Ministry of Works and Transport in 1996 for the establishment of a rail commuter service between Windhoek and Rehoboth to address road accidents and fatalities. The road between Windhoek and Rehoboth road carries the highest number of commuters in Namibia on a daily basis. Rehoboth, situated 80km south of the capital has its highest percentage workforce employed in Windhoek due to the lack of employment opportunities in the town to cater for all. The proposal was received well by the then Minister of Works Late Hon. OV Plichta and he presented the proposal to cabinet where it was endorsed in March of 1998. A pre-feasibility study was commissioned by the Ministry of Works and Transport and Bicon Namibia Consulting Engineers was appointed to produce a study. In 2002 the study was released and concluded that the project would be feasible with all factors considered at that stage. After the passing of Hon. Plichta who was the main impetus, support for the project faded before a full feasibility study could be commissioned and as this sadly never happened the project was halted due to financial constraints. The project was however revived in November 2012 and talks with the Ministry of Works and Transport and Trans Namib were initiated. Since 2012 TAE has had various meetings with officials at the Ministry of Works and Transport, including three Ministers and their Permanent Secretaries, today known as Executive Directors and various departmental directors whom all have indicated support for the project. In 2018, upon advice received from Director of railways, TAE met with the PPP Unit of the Ministry of Finance who at the time indicated that Trans Namib needs to determine the position of all stakeholders in this project while at the same time indicating that there was no formal procedure on how to deal with unsolicited proposals. Trans Namib was subsequently engaged to determine the need for such a project and agreed that the need exists as was already agreed upon in 2014 when an NDA was signed with the national rail carrier. Based on recommendations, TAE in 2019 drafted a terms of reference which was provided to Trans Namib and once more engaged the PPP Unit, with the same outcome. Trans Auas Express has outlined its current stance on the project and provided it to all stakeholders: 1. TAE has a standing cabinet endorsement for the project obtained in 1998 2. TAE has invested in this project for a total period of 15 years not including the time the project was in remission 3. The Bicon pre-feasibility study indicates the project is feasible (2002) 4. Element Consulting Engineers (Cape Town), appointed by TAE prepared a feasibility summary at risk indicating the feasibility of the project (2015) and these findings were presented to Trans Namib and the Ministry of Works 5. A partnership proposal between Trans Namib and Trans Auas has been discussed 6. We have indicated that TAE will source 100% funding for this project with no expectation from Government or Trans Namib whilst further proposing a PPP with Trans Namib as rail custodian 7. This projects connects with the Urban Transport Masterplan 8. TAE wishes to make use of the current infrastructure available with the addition of a new station in Rehoboth and other trackside developments 9. The initial CAPEX of the project indicated by Element Consulting is N$ 570 million but excludes amendments to the initial proposal as well as the option to electrify the line using solar power which we intend to add to the new feasibility studies 10. TAE can source its own funding for preparation of pre-feasibility and feasibility studies as well as business plans and environmental impact assessments. 11. The potential for job creation for this projects is not only limited to permanent jobs but also thousands of part time jobs in the construction and other industries 12. The project also aims to minimize costs for the Roads Authority on road maintenance as the number of vehicles travelling on the road will be reduced as well as the MVA fund in terms of claims lodged against the fund for road accidents. 13. Trans Namib as the rail custodian can benefit through a shareholding agreement as well as additional agreements for maintenance on rolling stock and skills training. We are proud citizens of our country who have the interests of our people and our economy at heart. With investment interest on hand, Trans Auas Express has no doubt that this project will be beneficial to the country, its people and the economy. With all this pertinent and critical information, it is surprising that this project is not getting the necessary attention it deserves. Our hope is that this project will finally come to fruition in 2021 after more than two decades of investing resources. Bradley Ferreira Managing Director: SkyGro Industries Lead Project Manager: Trans Auas Express
PRASA Progress
June 11, 2021 • 14 MIN
A brief Coffee with the Editor, with the Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Dikeledi Magadzi, following the inspection of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), Wolmerton maintenance depot in Pretoria North, Gauteng, with the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) Board. Whilst we discuss the state of the Wolmerton depot, we also touch on the current status of the station modernization programme, Public Private Participation through concession agreements, and the joint efforts between the Department of Transport, Transnet and the Department of Public Enterprises to bring about efficient railway operations in, South Africa. Last but not least, because it is youth month – we close off with a great message of encouragement for our youth and women in rail, enjoy!
New CEO at Alstom Ubunye
July 4, 2021 • 9 MIN
Railways Africa’s Coffee with the Editor is with Logan Naicker following the recent announcement of his appointment as the new CEO for Alstom Ubunye in South Africa. Logon discusses his time so far with the company, the continuous improvements at the Nigel based facility and what their next steps are. This is over-and-above meeting the supply requirements of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s rolling stock programme with Gibela, who are manufacturing the trains. Enjoy!
TransNamib CEO Takes Over As President Of SARA
July 8, 2021 • 9 MIN
CEO of TransNamib, Johny Smith, in this Coffee with the Editor, discusses his appointment as President of the Southern African Railway Association (SARA), and his agenda for Southern African rail operators for the next 12 months. The key being integration and a real push of the road-to-rail strategy for the Region. Johny also provides an update on TransNamib’s operations, projects and the recent award to Traxtion for four leased locomotives.
African Rail Industry Association Progress On Open Access
July 14, 2021 • 3 MIN
James Holley the CEO of Traxtion is also the chairperson of the African Rail Industry Association (ARIA). In a recent Coffee with the Editor, James takes a moment to give us an update on the association’s activities, specifically on the progress of the study for the practical implantation of third party access to the South African railway. This has been well supported by the various stakeholders. ARIA as an industry association is focused on supporting the future of the industry. It is important that structural reform for the railway sector backed by Operation Vulindlela is executed. #railway #africa #openaccess
Traxtion's EURO4000’s Enter Service And More On The Unitrans Africa Project
July 23, 2021 • 10 MIN
James Holley, CEO of Traxtion, discusses two recent highlights for the company in this Coffee with the Editor. Firstly, the newly branded EURO4000’s that have entered service on the TAZARA line through the Calabash operation. James discusses the project and the logistics of getting the EURO4000’s to site, as well as, the value the new locomotives will bring to customers. Secondly, Traxtion is really excited to be part of Unitrans Africa’s journey into rail. The project scope includes the leasing and maintenance of GE C30 locomotives, which will be operated by the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ). James notes that Unitrans has a reputation for being a blue-chip service provider to their customers and have a reputation for delivering high-class logistics solutions that fits with Traxtion’s philosophy and that it has been wonderfully refreshing working with NRZ.
Gauteng Resignalling Project To Be Completed By The End Of 2021
July 25, 2021 • 12 MIN
This Coffee with the Editor, with Kevin Pillay, CEO of Siemens Mobility South Africa follows the article published in week 28 of Railways Africa Magazine titled, Significant Milestone Reached For PRASA’s Gauteng Signalling Project. Article: https://go.railwaysafrica.com/milestone-gauteng-signalling-project 76 of 88 stations have been completed so far and Kevin discusses why this is such a significant milestone, and what makes the next station, being Germiston so significant. In addition, we discuss the timeframe to completion, their commitment to executing the project, and some of the industry challenges being experienced at the moment. Enjoy.
Thelo DB, SAPRO Mayoko Railway Project
August 6, 2021 • 9 MIN
In this Coffee with the Editor, we catch up with Ronnie Ntuli, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Thelo DB, following the recent news that Thelo DB will manage, finance, build and operate a 450km railway corridor from the port of Pointe-Noire to the Mayoko Station in the Republic of Congo. With an estimated 100 million tonnes per annum! In addition, Ronnie shares his insight into the business, new appointments and his views on the rail industry. Enjoy.
Coffee with the Editor, Andrew Waller, CEO of Grindrod Limited
August 31, 2021 • 12 MIN
Andrew Waller, CEO of Grindrod Limited, took a few minutes for a virtual Coffee with the Editor, following the announcement of Grindrod’s interim results for the 6-months ended 30 June 2021, on 27 August. Despite a tough year the company produced solid results. We discuss rail, leasing, the potential of open access, logistics and the recent reintroduction of locomotives in Sierra Leone, along with other items that focus on #rail and #Africa.
Unitrans Africa Steps Into Rail
September 10, 2021 • 9 MIN
Unitrans Africa is a diversified contractual logistics company serving the needs of selected sub-Saharan African markets. A few months ago the company ventured into offering a dedicated rail link between Mozambique and Zimbabwe. In partnership with the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), Caminhos de Ferro de Mocambique (CFM) and Traxtion. In this Coffee with the Editor, Unitrans Africa’s CEO, Rob Hayworth, discusses their journey into rail, the service offering and what the future could hold. Enjoy.
PRASA Rebuilding Passenger Rail
September 17, 2021 • 16 MIN
In this Coffee with the Editor, Refilwe Kunene – Strategic Programs Manager, GCEO office of the Passenger Rail Agency South Africa (PRASA), discusses their corridor recovery, network rehabilitation and the overall strategy that is being executed to deliver services. We discuss the impact of theft and vandalism, signalling, services in Cape Town, general challenges and the corridor roll-out plan among other items of interest including depots, to accommodate the new trains and bringing them into service. Our thanks to the PRASA communications team and Refilwe for taking the time to engage with us.
Great Expectations for Malawi’s Railway as Nacala Logistics Expands Portfolio
October 2, 2021 • 20 MIN
Nacala Logistics, Director of Operations, Gustavo Stein in a Coffee with the Editor, explains the recent progress made by Nacala Logistics, including, investments and line rehabilitation. The opening of the $5.5 Million Limbe Container Terminal, the partnership with C. Steinweg Bridge and what the future holds for the organisation and the further development in terms of connecting to neighbouring railways.
Thelo DB - A Keen Eye On African Railway Projects
October 18, 2021 • 19 MIN
In this Coffee with the Editor, we get to know Dutliff Bredenkamp the recently appointed CEO of Thelo DB. Dutliff has extensive experience in the rail sector and outlines the vision of the business in Africa and South Africa. Thelo DB is an incorporated JV between, Thelo Ventures a 100% Black Owned South African company and Deutsche Bahn Engineering, Consulting and Operations which is a German-owned entity. Thelo DB’s focus is on Railways in Africa, with the aim of being the number one railway entity on the continent.
Alstom Southern Africa One Year on After the Bombardier Transportation Acquisition, What's Next?
February 7, 2022 • 28 MIN
Officially a year since Bombardier Transport become part of the Alstom group. Making this an ideal opportunity to connect with Bernard Peille, Managing Director Southern Africa, ALSTOM. In this Coffee with the Editor, we discuss the changes to the group locally and what the future holds for both South Africa and Southern Africa. Especially, now as the product portfolio has been expanded. In South Africa, the Alstom group is actively involved in passenger rail through the delivery of PRASA’s new rolling stock programme, the Xtrapolis fleet through Gibela. Alstom Ubunye, their rail manufacturing factory, is supplying components to Gibela, including end-under-frames, bogies and bogie frames. Looming products and other electrical components. The Isando manufacturing plant, previously a Bombardier Transport facility, is focused on propulsion systems, producing high-power traction converter systems for the Traxx 3300 platform. Alstom will continue to deliver the TRAXX locomotives to Transnet. In addition, with the transfer of Bombardier to the Group, Alstom is now actively involved with the Gautrain. Alstom Southern African is participating in a number of projects outside of South Africa. Bernard highlights signalling projects in Tanzania and Zambia, as well as, opportunities they are exploring in Namibia, Botswana, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe amongst others.
Transnet Freight Rail - Open Access, Lost Opportunities And A Positive Outlook
March 16, 2022 • 19 MIN
There is no doubt that open access or third party access to Transnet Freight Rail’s core network is being seen as a “hoorah” moment for the revitalisation of South Africa’s ailing railway sector, but there’s more to this than meets the eye! Transnet Freight Rail is facing some very real and extraordinary challenges – theft, vandalism, rolling stock availability -among others. In this Coffee with the Editor with Phillippa Dean, TFR - CEO, Sizakele Mzimela takes us through the current implementation status of open access, and what the future holds. Enjoy.
SAHHA: Opportunities & Challenges of the Mining Sector - Expected Role of the Logistics System
August 12, 2022 • 24 MIN
Roger Baxter, CEO of the Minerals Council South Africa speaking at the South African Heavy Haul Conference and Exhibition on the topic of: "Opportunities & Challenges of the Mining Sector - Expected Role of the Logistics System".
SAHHA: Transnet’s Strategy to Support the Commodity Sector
August 12, 2022 • 27 MIN
Dr. Andrew Shaw, Group Chief Strategy & Planning Officer covers Transnet's strategy to support the commodity sector at the recently held South African Heavy Haul Conference and Exhibition (SAHHA).
SAHHA: Future of Heavy Haul
August 12, 2022 • 34 MIN
Prof. Jan Havenga and Dr. Zane Simpson, Stellenbosch University cover "The Future of Heavy Haul" at the South African Heavy Haul Conference and Exhibition.
Grindrod The Future For Rail Is Bright
September 9, 2022 • 10 MIN
Listen to our interview with Xolani Mbambo, the incoming CEO of Grindrod Limited and the current CEO of Grindrod Freight Services. Our interview took place during their recent interim financial results announcement. In our interview, we touch on the locomotive fleet expansion, market opportunities for rail, and the recently launched coal train service with Eswatini, among other items of interest that highlight that the future for rail is bright! Enjoy.
Advancing Railway Safety and Efficiency: Insights from IRSE President Andy Knight
March 4, 2023 • 23 MIN
Join us as we sit down with Andy Knight, President of the Institution of Railway Signalling Engineers (IRSE), to learn more about ISRE and discuss his recent visit to South Africa and his insights into the challenges facing the country's railway industry. From multiple infrastructure owners to skills development, we delve into the important role that the IRSE plays in providing guidance and support to the rail industry.
Discussing Transnamib's Railway Projects and Future
March 10, 2023 • 12 MIN
In this episode of Coffee with the Editor, Johny Smith, CEO of TransNamib, joins Philippa Dean to discuss his impending departure from TransNamib and the exciting projects the company is working on. Watch to learn about the Walvis Bay-to-Kranzberg upgrade project, the Trans Kalahari Project, new locomotives being purchased with a 2.6 billion loan, and the government's plan to rehabilitate sections of the railway lines in Namibia. Smith also shares his biggest highlight during his tenure at TransNamib and his vision for the future of the rail industry in Namibia.
Expertise Of The International Union Of Railways (UIC) Benefiting Railway Operators In Africa
May 26, 2023 • 20 MIN
Join our editor for an insightful "Coffee with the Editor" session featuring the team from the Union Internationale des Chemins de fer (UIC) – International Union of Railways, as we discuss their involvement and activities in the African region. We had the privilege of "meeting" Christian Chavanel, the coordinator for the Africa region and Rail System Director, along with Marie Plaud-Lombard, Maria Lafont, and François Davenne, UIC Director General. While one may think that the UIC is focused on the European market, they are a global railway organisation with over 60 members and 100 years of expertise and experience in the technical aspects of the sector. They are in an ideal position to offer valuable insights and solutions to operators in Africa, covering crucial areas such as safety, interoperability, telecommunications, passengers, freight, combined transport, certification, and more.
12th IHHA Conference: Advancing Heavy Haul Operations and Sustainability
May 27, 2023 • 5 MIN
In this Coffee with the Editor, Antonio Merheb, the current chairman of the International Heavy Haul Association, gives me an update on the plans for the 12th IHHA - International Heavy Haul Association Conference and Exhibition, which is set to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 27-31, 2023, at the Windsor Convention & Expo Centre. It is set to be the biggest event yet for IHHA, replicating some of the success achieved when the event last ran in Cape Town, South Africa. Over 500 abstracts were received from 120 organizations representing more than 30 countries in response to the call for speakers. At the event, there will be 220 full papers presented, in addition to 100 poster sessions. So far, the numbers for both exhibitors and conference delegates are looking fantastic. Antonio also touches on the biggest players in terms of heavy haul operations and emphasizes that, for the first time, there is a significant focus on carbonization, renewable fuels, and innovative systems that can promote sustainable operations. In addition, heavy haul is not just about looking at the railway aspect in isolation but as a total system that includes the mines and the port. It looks like the 12th IHHA - International Heavy Haul Association Conference and Exhibition is going to be an event not to be missed. Registrations are open: https://ihhario2023.com/registration/
Building A Sustainable Rail Future In The Middle East: Perspectives From Mama Sougoufara, Alstom's MD For MENAT
May 27, 2023 • 11 MIN
Join us for an insightful interview with Mama Sougoufara, Alstom's Managing Director for MENAT - Middle East, Northern Africa and Turkey, as part of our "Coffee with the Editor" series. In this episode, Mama shares his perspectives on the Middle East rail market, its potential, and Alstom's approach in supporting its development. Discover the exciting projects and initiatives happening in the region and gain valuable insights into the unique challenges and opportunities faced in this dynamic market.
Advancing Railway Development in Southern Africa: Insights from SARA Director Lubinda Sakanga
June 12, 2023 • 28 MIN
We had the opportunity to catch up for a "Coffee with the Editor" with Lubinda Sakanga, Director of Technical & Operations at the Southern African Railway Association (SARA), during the recent Continental Workshop for the Africa Integrated High-Speed Railways Network (AIHSRN). SARA, a subsidiary organization of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), is solely dedicated to railway development within the Southern African region. Their primary mission is to advance the railway development agenda, particularly through corridor development. The vision for the continental AIHSRN network revolves around these corridors, which are viewed from a continental perspective and are part of the Program for Infrastructure Development Project (PIDA). PIDA aims to foster continental railway coordination. The Africa Union High-Speed Railway Project prioritizes railway links across various regions, two of which specifically fall within the Southern African region. These are the Namibian Corridor, which primarily connects Namibia through Botswana before joining the North-South Corridor, and the Beira Corridor, extending from Zambia via the Memorial Way to Beira Port in Mozambique. In this interview, we discuss the role of SARA in advancing railway development in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Sakanga emphasizes the importance of corridor development, intergovernmental agreements, standards, regulations, and capacity building. He also mentions the ongoing development of a regional railway infrastructure master plan and the need for private-sector engagement. Enjoy!
Unveiling the Future of Ethiopia's Railways
June 16, 2023 • 9 MIN
For this Coffee with the Editor, we sit down with Engineer Hilina Belachew - CEO, of Ethiopia Railways Corporation. In this in-depth interview, we discuss the transformative role of the rail network in Ethiopia, its current projects, and future expansion plans. We explore exciting development corridors and dive into the Corporation's visionary plans for increased independence in railway production.
James Holley, CEO of Traxtion, Discusses Refurbishment Projects, Hydrogen Solutions, and Rail Industry Updates
June 21, 2023 • 12 MIN
James Holley, CEO of Traxtion, recently joined Railways Africa Magazine for a Coffee With The Editor interview. The conversation covered various topics and updates in the rail industry. One of the key highlights was the refurbishment of Class 39 locomotives purchased from Transnet Engineering. Two of the locomotives are currently in testing, and all locomotives have been contracted out for lease. Additionally, the Rosslyn Rail services hub is experiencing increased activity, with 24 locomotives at different stages of rebuild and repair. The interview also touched on the company’s commitment to training and excellence in its workforce. Traxtion invests significantly in internal and external training programs. The company recognizes the importance of skilled and competent teams in delivering high-quality services. Regarding Traxtion’s operations in Africa, they have concluded the sale of three locomotives to Senegal. Senegal is making substantial investments in its rail infrastructure, including the high-speed commuter rail link and the Dakar Bamako line. James Holley also provided an update on the hydrogen locomotive project, and the potential to transition from diesel-electric locomotives to a green hydrogen solution. The project is in its final stages, and the consortium working on it has been awarded a grant. This development represents a significant leap forward for the region’s freight rail industry. Rail reform and increased demand for trains driven by high commodity prices were highlighted as factors creating opportunities for the private sector in the rail industry. Investment in infrastructure is crucial to improving transit times and operational speed, paving the way for future investment in new rolling stock. Traxtion is actively involved in promoting safety and awareness, with plans for the upcoming International level crossing awareness day in collaboration with the Rail Safety Regulator.
Regional Coordination Key in Africa's High-Speed Rail Network Project to Revolutionise Intra-African Trade
June 25, 2023 • 12 MIN
Welcome to an engaging Coffee with the Editor with Eng. Eric Ntagengerwa, Acting Head of the Transport and Mobility Division at the Infrastructure and Energy Department, African Union Commission. This interview took place during the Continental Workshop on the Implementation of the Africa Integrated High-Speed Railways Network. Eric takes a moment to share the objectives of the workshop, focusing on the crucial aspects of the project and its potential to boost intra-African trade, which is essential for the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement. The Africa Integrated High-Speed Railway Network project, a key part of the AU Agenda 2063, is pivotal to achieving Africa's goal of physical integration and facilitating trade across the continent. The conversation unveils the meticulous coordination required to manage the 13 projects within the High-Speed Railway Network, all aimed at connecting Africa through an integrated corridor approach. Eric emphasises the critical role of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and corridor management institutions in this process. We touch on the incorporation of the private sector in these ambitious projects and the significance of forming public-private partnerships. The conversation provides insights into achieving interoperability between different railway line standards and gauges across the continent. An intriguing development discussed in the interview is the revival of the African Union of Railways, and Eric provides the background and future potential of this entity. Finally, the importance of the rail sector in supporting the objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement is addressed. As Eric states, rail transport continues to be a priority, potentially replacing road transport in some areas to result in a denser, more efficient network, while also addressing the issue of decarbonisation. Join us in this enlightening conversation and gain a comprehensive understanding of Africa's future in railway development and trade facilitation. Don't forget to subscribe for more updates on Africa's transformative railway initiatives.
A Deep Dive With Wabtec's Babatunde Oso On Revitalising Africa's Rolling Stock
July 2, 2023 • 12 MIN
In this Coffee with the Editor, Babatunde Oso, Regional General Manager for Africa at Wabtec Corporation, discusses the company’s strategic role and ongoing efforts in the South African and broader African rail industry. The conversation provides a deep insight into the challenges and opportunities facing the rail sector in Africa, including the competition with road transport and the need for significant infrastructure investment. Oso goes in-depth into Wabtec’s technological advancements, including the company’s shift towards more efficient and eco-friendly options. This includes moving from diesel to battery-powered locomotives, as part of an overall drive to reduce carbon footprints and promote sustainability in the industry. We touch on the unique case of maintaining and modernising older GE/Wabtec locomotives that are still operational after nearly half a century of service. Oso outlines how the company is working to extend the lifespan of these machines, highlighting the complexity of managing a supply chain for equipment that wasn’t built to last this long. We kick around the idea of a potential ‘buy-back’ system, where old locomotives could be replaced with modern, more efficient ones. This would probably be an interesting business case once open access talk translates into actual open access. Oso also talks about the hurdles of dealing with ageing assets and the struggle of valuing older rolling stock in such an evolving market. If you are interested in rail transport, sustainability, and technological innovations in the African context. Dive into the complexities, challenges, and innovative solutions that are part of Wabtec’s journey in the African rail industry. Enjoy.
Alstom Ubunye's Vision for the Future – PRASA Trains and Beyond
July 2, 2023 • 5 MIN
In this episode of Coffee with the Editor, we have the pleasure of hosting Logan Naicker, CEO of Alstom Ubunye. This engaging conversation provides comprehensive insights into Alstom Ubunye’s operations within the African Rail industry, with a particular focus on their ongoing PRASA project. Logan delves into the progress of the PRASA project, where Alstom Ubunye is nearing the serial production phase, with almost six train sets being manufactured every month. He recalls how they hit the ground running in 2018, ramping up production at an impressive pace. Keeping in stride with their customer, Gibela, the company has managed to effectively match the demand for train sets. This venture is prospering significantly and is expected to reach peak production in the coming months. Operating at this capacity, Alstom Ubunye aims to maintain this production rate through the end of the contract in 2030. A central point of our discussion revolves around Alstom Ubunye’s recent expansion into the service and maintenance sector. Already established in maintaining the Gautrain and the Traxx Locomotive, the broadening horizons of the company indicate their adaptability and growth. Logan also outlines the company’s involvement in the production of the Traxx locomotive, highlighting the strategic roles of Alstom’s various joint ventures within the industry. This forms part of Alstom Ubunye’s unwavering dedication to manufacturing, with a vision for further expansion into locomotive production across South Africa and Africa. As we delve deeper into the specifics of Alstom Ubunye’s contributions to the PRASA car build project, Logan details the multitude of mechanical and electrical components they work on. These include essential parts like traction converters, cubicles, auxiliary converters, looms, harnessing, and bogie assemblies. Alongside their foundational role in manufacturing, Alstom Ubunye is also charting a course into the service, maintenance, and overhaul market. They have recently taken their first steps in this direction, with a dedicated facility already set up for this purpose. Towards the end of our discussion, we explore future plans, particularly the possibility of venturing into different technologies like diesel, hydrogen, or battery-powered trains. While Alstom Ubunye’s expertise is primarily in the electric space, they recognise the diverse requirements of the South African and African markets and are actively contemplating how to cater to these various needs. Join us for this in-depth conversation, providing an inside look into Alstom Ubunye’s operations, their significant role in the African Rail industry, and their exciting plans for the future.
Exploring the Challenges and Opportunities in South Africa's Rail Sector Transformation
August 15, 2023 • 27 MIN
A few weeks ago, we published a blog authored by Sarah Truen titled: “Unlocking Efficiency – Overcoming Challenges in South Africa’s Rail Freight Sector.” In this Coffee with the Editor podcast, Sarah delves into the intricacies involved in achieving success within this context. Our conversation delves into the challenges and complexities associated with introducing competition, enhancing operational efficiency, and enabling third-party access within the rail industry. We explore the delicate balancing act necessary to establish a fair competitive landscape while also nurturing private sector engagement and investment. Truen elaborates on the significance of effective price differentiation, the implementation of regulatory mechanisms, and the pivotal role of collaboration among various stakeholders. Tune in to gain valuable insights.
Empowering Local Suppliers to Go Global: A Chat with Alstom's Nolufefe Gxakushe-Solani
August 21, 2023 • 6 MIN
At the recent Ignite SME Summit 2023, Nolufefe Gxakushe-Solani, the Procurement Director at Alstom, took the stage to discuss the company's active involvement in supplier and enterprise development, especially concerning the four joint venture rail projects that Alstom has in South Africa. We caught up with her offstage for an impromptu Coffee with the Editor session. Alstom, globally renowned for its commitment to innovation in transport solutions, has firmly rooted itself in the South African business landscape. Nolufefe elaborated on Alstom's mission, emphasizing their efforts to not only deliver on mandates and contracts but also to uplift suppliers to compete on the international stage. Through their Supplier Development function, they aim to bolster existing capabilities and enhance efficiencies. This comprehensive approach not only includes training and process implementation but also extends to financial support, such as offering favourable payment terms. A significant challenge faced by local suppliers is the need to meet the international standards set by companies like Alstom. Instead of perceiving this as a hindrance, Alstom views it as a growth opportunity. They have played a pivotal role in aiding suppliers to secure the necessary certifications, even when they initially lacked them. Using the specific welding requirements as an example, Nolufefe illustrated how Alstom ensures that suppliers undergo the required training, which in turn leads to the establishment of sustainable processes compliant with global standards. Alstom's ambition stretches beyond just local projects. They are committed to ensuring that suppliers are trained to meet international rail standards, preparing them not just for local initiatives like the PRASA program, executed by Gibela, but also for global undertakings. "We are qualifying them to produce and supply components that are crafted in South Africa, using South African materials and powered by skilled South Africans, to meet the demands of companies abroad," Nolufefe stated. Nolufefe also underscored the impressive investment figures denoting their commitment. Over the past decade, with a particular focus on the Gibela Programme, Alstom has channelled 96 million Rand, into training, an additional 66 million towards localization, and a further 83 million for supplier development. These numbers are a testament to Alstom's unwavering dedication to fostering a sustainable and empowered local business ecosystem. As our conversation concluded, Nolufefe's fervour for Alstom's vision and the potential of South African suppliers shone brightly. Through her words and deeds, she embodies the relentless drive to ensure today's investments pave the way for a sustainable future. Ps: Thank you to Roche Bobois (https://www.roche-bobois.com/en-ZA/) for the Coffee With the Editor set.
Advancing Railway Safety: An In-Depth Discussion with the Railway Safety Regulator
September 27, 2023 • 25 MIN
Join us for another insightful session of 'Coffee with the Editor' as Phillippa Dean sits down with Mmuso Selaledi, the acting CEO of the Railway Safety Regulator. In this in-depth conversation, they explore a myriad of topics, shedding light on the significant transformations within the railway industry and the pivotal role of the Railway Safety Regulator in fostering safety and innovation. Topics Covered: - International Rail Safety Council event 2023 - Annual State of Safety Report Insights - Challenges & Solutions: Tackling Theft and Vandalism - Amendments to the Railway Safety Bill - Third-Party Open Access: The Role of RSR - RSR Cooperation in Southern Africa
Exploring South Africa's Rail Future with Deputy Director-General Ngwako Makaepea
November 4, 2023 • 18 MIN
During the International Railway Safety Council Conference hosted by the Railway Safety Regulator, Ngwako Makaepea, the Deputy Director-General of Rail Transport at the Department of Transport, shared valuable insights during a "Coffee with the Editor" session. In the midst of Transport Month, the spotlight is firmly on the rail industry. Makaepea observes, "Transport stands as the heartbeat of the South African economy. Rail, as a pivotal mode of transport, not only facilitates the movement of people but also significantly fuels our economic engine." He underscores the industry's contribution by highlighting its role in transporting products from mines to ports, bolstering South Africa's presence in the export market. Our conversation spanned a range of pertinent topics: from the resurgence of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) network and the envisioned integration of public transport to the ambitions of Operation Vulindlela and the National Rail Policy. Additionally, we covered the intricacies of corridor concessions, the prospects of high-speed rail, and the ongoing Devolution strategy. Collectively, these initiatives and visions hint at a broader ambition – seamlessly connecting the people of South Africa through rail.
PRASA is Focused on Delivering a Safe, Reliable and Predictable Rail Service
November 4, 2023 • 11 MIN
Hishaam Emeran, the CEO of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), recently shared insights during a "Coffee with the Editor" interview at the International Railway Safety Council's annual conference, hosted by the Railway Safety Regulator. The discussion revolved around PRASA's commitment to delivering a safe, reliable, and predictable rail service, encompassing aspects like signalling, network expansion, and depot modernization. One of the key topics Hishaam addressed was the ongoing recovery of the PRASA network. He also shed light on the agency's ambitious plans for future network development and expansion in major metropolitan areas, with a particular focus on the development of high-speed passenger rail services. Of note is the KZN signalling program, a substantial initiative set to span nine years. Hishaam mentioned that a contract for this program has already been signed through a joint venture consortium comprising both a local and an international company. Currently, they are in the mobilization phase, gearing up to commence on-ground operations. Additionally, the interview touched upon the long-awaited depot modernization program and station upgrades within PRASA's network. Hishaam emphasized that safety stands as their top priority. He highlighted the recently launched safety campaign, "Asiphephe," which translates to "Let us be safe." This campaign has been integrated into PRASA's business operations and includes initiatives such as refresher training and seminars. The goal is to ensure that as PRASA progresses toward offering high-frequency service across all their corridors, they do so with the utmost commitment to safety, providing passengers with a truly safe, reliable, and predictable rail service. #PRASA #RailwaySafety #RailExpansion #HighSpeedRail #RailNetwork #Asiphephe #KZNSignaling #RailModernization #PassengerRail #RailwayConference #HishaamEmeran #RailwayIndustry #RailSafety #Transit #RailTransport #PublicTransport #RailwayInfrastructure #RailwayUpgrades #RailService #railwaydevelopment
Reimagining Interprovincial Railway - The Gauteng-Limpopo Rail Link and Gautrain's Next Chapter
November 4, 2023 • 25 MIN
Tshepo Kgobe, set to assume the role of Chief Executive Officer of the Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) in February 2024, sat down for an enlightening Coffee with the Editor, chat during the International Railway Safety Council Conference, organized by the Railway Safety Regulator. While everyone eagerly awaits updates on the Gautrain extensions and the impending Gautrain concession transition, Tshepo hinted at exciting, forward-thinking plans on the horizon. High on the agenda is the Gauteng-Limpopo rail link initiative. This endeavour, driven by the GMA, aims to address urbanisation and revive the economies of smaller towns previously overlooked due to national highways. The vision? To eventually integrate this link into a comprehensive high-speed rail network for the province. Tshepo passionately spoke about the project's core mission, emphasizing that if you wish to jumpstart a nation's economy, you begin at its heart and subsequently reestablish connections to its diverse regions. Thankfully, rail is at the epicentre of this vision. Touching on the financial side, Tshepo highlighted the pressing need to rethink the funding narrative for passenger rail. He elaborated on the concept of a "negative concession", where the government intervenes to make fares affordable for citizens, drawing a global perspective and noting that this approach isn't new here or internationally. A shift in our narrative is crucial. Reflecting on the pandemic era, Tshepo shared insights into Gautrain's operations during the COVID-19 lockdown, underscoring the extensive measures they undertook to ensure the network's security. On expansion queries, he revealed that the GMA is currently navigating through the second of two crucial approvals: charting out the new route for the Soweto line and re-envisioning the 'super network' to interconnect special economic zones. The unveiling of this revamped network is on the horizon. Regarding the anticipated concession transition, Tshepo walked us through the intricate processes, strategies, and upcoming phases, noting the need for them to keep devolution in mind amidst the myriad of evolving components. The conversation also touched upon high-speed rail prospects and explored green technologies, including hydrogen.
Railway Realities: Traxtion CEO James Holley Speaks on South African Rail's Challenges & Prospects
November 4, 2023 • 9 MIN
Amidst the bustle of the International Railway Safety Council conference in Cape Town, hosted by the Railway Safety Regulator, we engaged in a candid "Coffee with the Editor" session with James Holley, the CEO of Traxtion. Our discussion touches on Traxtion's growth, the challenges and opportunities facing South Africa's railway sector, and the actionable steps ahead for the industry. Aligning with Open Access Open access is on the horizon for South Africa's railway sector, and Holley views it as the next significant growth phase. The freight opportunity in South Africa is substantial. However, on the other hand, our economy is in dire need of rail freight expansion. The potential is vast, but challenges persist. Last year, estimates suggested a 6% GDP loss due to a decline in rail freight volumes. This year, there's an anticipated loss of 4.5% of GDP because of a similar decrease in rail freight volumes, underscoring the urgent need for increased train capacity. Holley has acknowledged the recently approved National Rail Policy by the cabinet. The forthcoming step is for the infrastructure manager to commence the implementation of that reform, along with the Economic Regulator. Infrastructure Challenges Despite the potential, Holley emphasized that underlying infrastructure challenges could impede progress. "We have to consider the economics associated with reform, and we need to understand the efficiencies associated with our ability to operate, especially given potential issues with the track infrastructure condition," he remarked. An analysis by the African Railway Industry Association (ARIA) highlighted an approximate R30 billion underspend on maintenance over the past 11 years. We have to find a solution for the investment, especially considering tens of billions of rands needed for infrastructure improvement. In the context of a constrained Transnet balance sheet and a national fiscus with highly competing requirements for its money, the pressing question is how we get private sector money into the infrastructure? "Train sets are so expensive," Holley stated, stressing the need to ensure infrastructure efficiency before making significant investments. Addressing this backlog is vital if reform is to be more than just a topic of discussion. "Before investing, you must be absolutely certain that the train set will deliver the expected efficiencies to justify the costs," he added. National Logistics Crisis Committee Holley notes that the National Logistics Crisis Committee (NLCC) as the right forum for achieving tangible results. Comprising government, business, and union stakeholders, it serves as the platform for addressing and finding solutions to the sector's challenges. The committee's high-quality representation from the business world further cements its importance. Safety First At the International Railway Safety Council event, we couldn't conclude our "Coffee with the Editor" session without addressing safety. Traxtion has maintained the equivalent of a five-star safety rating for seven consecutive years and has reported zero injuries for four of those years. Safety is paramount. Holley attributes this record to both training and the quality of the Traxtion team. He highlighted the Traxtion Rail training centre, in place for the last 18 years, emphasizing that providing people with the right tools and accreditation is essential for achieving success across the business. Holley concluded by recognizing the significance of the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) in the industry. "The RSR is an extremely important stakeholder," he said, emphasizing the need for industry-wide support. It's clear that while challenges remain, both Traxtion and the broader railway sector in South Africa are on track for growth and innovation, as long as the necessary infrastructure challenges are addressed. Watch the full interview for more details. #RailwaySafety #Traxtion #SouthAfricaRailways #InfrastructureChallenges #RailwayInnovation #InfrastructureChallenges #RailwayInnovation #OpenAccess #RailFreight
SAFLog's Vision for a Seamless Rail Future: An Exclusive with CEO Thami Gwala
November 4, 2023 • 9 MIN
In our "Coffee with the Editor" segment, set against the backdrop of the International Railway Safety Council conference hosted by the Railway Safety Regulator, we feature Thami Gwala, the CEO of SAFLog. Reflecting on SAFLog's journey, Gwala recalled that they were one of the first companies to obtain their license in 2004. This not only marked a historic moment, being recognized as the first black-owned company in South Africa to do so, but also emphasized the significance of championing and preserving the transformative progress in the industry. Today, the concept of open access is creating a buzz in the industry. For SAFLog, this spells a new era of opportunity. Gwala elaborated on the company's "pit-to-port" strategy, which aims to bridge the gaps between the first mile and the last mile in rail transport. This strategic shift will enhance their ability to provide customers with a comprehensive and seamless pit-to-port service. For those unfamiliar with SAFLog's multi-dimensional operations, Gwala outlined the company's core business pillars: -- Rail Operations and Shunting: SAFLog leases locomotives to customers and have recently acquired mainline locomotives to bolster their reach. -- Infrastructure: SAFLog is actively involved in perway construction and maintenance projects, with aspirations to undertake main line projects of significant value. -- Material Handling and Terminal Management: Their intermodal logistics model focuses on ensuring smooth transitions between road, rail and sea - thus ensuring a seamless solution for its customers. -- Investments: The company has stakes in various related entities, including Gibela and Lucchini SA, enhancing their portfolio and collaborative potential. With a foot set firmly on South African soil, SAFLog's vision transcends local boundaries, incorporating an ambitious African strategy. They have ventured into warehousing close to port locations, such as Durban, to streamline the process of transporting cargo to countries like Zimbabwe, Zambia, and DRC. This strategic move positions SAFLog to contribute significantly to the economies of multiple countries in the continent. On the hot topic of open access, Gwala expressed SAFLog's readiness. However, he emphasized a selective approach in choosing the right corridors that align with their clients' needs. With applications for open access set to open in November and potential operations to kick off in April, the future seems promising for SAFLog. Yet, Gwala is aware of the capital-intensive nature of the industry. His optimism lies in finding the right projects that promise positive payoffs in the current commodity cycle. In conclusion, SAFLog's journey paints a picture of resilience, adaptability and vision. As the rail sector stands on the precipice of change, companies like SAFLog, under the leadership of individuals like Thami Gwala, are driving the narrative towards a brighter and more connected future, and in the case of SAFLog - where 'Certainty is Delivered'. #RailwayRevolution #CertaintyDelivered #SAFLOG #pittoport #mining #freight #transport #RailInnovation #rail #railway #railindustry
Advancing Africa's Rail Network: The Africa Integrated High Speed Railway Network Workshop
January 12, 2024 • 3 MIN
Join us for a special edition of "Coffee with the Editor" as we sit down with Eric Ntagengerwa from the African Union during the recently held railway technical experts workshop on the Africa Integrated High Speed Railway Network, a flagship project of the AU Agenda 2063, held in Addis Ababa from 12-14th December 2023. Eric provides an in-depth look at the workshop's objectives, including assessing the progress of pilot railway projects, discussing challenges in funding and regulation, and the importance of the Luxembourg Rail Protocol. He also highlights the need for a robust information exchange platform and capacity building in the railway sector. Discover the key takeaways and renewed commitments from railway agencies and member states to collaboratively advance this monumental project. Stay tuned for more updates and progress reports on this transformative project, as we continue to bring you the latest from the heart of African rail transport developments.
Unveiling Africa's Railway Future: Exclusive Interview with Ibrah Wahabou, AUDA-NEPAD
January 12, 2024 • 19 MIN
Join us in an insightful conversation with Ibrah Wahabou, Senior Programme Officer at AUDA-NEPAD, as we explore the future of Africa's rail infrastructure. Recorded in Addis Ababa, this interview delves deep into the initiatives and challenges of developing a connected, efficient, and sustainable railway network across the continent. Key Highlights: - AU-NEPAD's role in translating policies into developmental projects. - Insights into the African Integrated High-Speed Rail Network and its evolution. - The intersection of PIDA and the rail network development. - Strategies to overcome implementation hurdles and financing challenges. - The potential of rail infrastructure in boosting intra-African trade. Don't Miss: - The importance of an integrated corridor approach in rail development. - Innovative ideas for financing Africa's railway revolution. - Understanding the frustration and aspirations surrounding Africa's rail infrastructure. - Stay tuned for more in-depth discussions and expert insights on Africa's infrastructure development journey.
Transforming Railways In Tanzania: An Exclusive Interview With TRC's Director General
January 12, 2024 • 13 MIN
Join us in this exclusive Coffee with the Editor session, where our Editor sits down with Mr. Masanja K. Kadogosa, the Director General of Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC). Discover the groundbreaking developments in Tanzania's railway network. From the near completion of the Dar es Salaam-Morogoro and Morogoro-Dodoma sections to future projects linking Tanzania with neighbouring countries, delve into the ambitious plans that are set to revolutionise railway transportation in East Africa. Hear more about TRC's approach to open access and partnerships with the private sector, as well as their strategic focus on integrated freight services. Mr. Kadogosa also provides insights into the significant investments, greenfield railway projects, maintenance strategies and skill development programmes shaping the future of Tanzania's railways.
Traxtion Driving Rail Innovation and Expansion in Africa
February 22, 2024 • 26 MIN
In this "Coffee with the Editor," James Holley, CEO of Traxtion, discusses the company's ambitious expansion plans and strategic initiatives within the dynamic context of railway operations in South Africa and the broader African continent. James shares insights into the extensive refurbishment and modernisation of an additional 20 locomotives at the Rosslyn workshops, highlighting the process of weight reduction to facilitate broader deployment across various terrains and the implementation of modern control systems. He also provides an update on the rebuild of the last Afro4000 locomotive, set to re-enter service by mid-year. With the fleet now expanded to 60 locomotives spread across eight African countries, James emphasises Traxtion's commitment to operational efficiency. This includes enhancing maintenance processes and inventory management across their service locations. He highlights their digitalisation journey, which has significantly reduced paper usage and improved real-time data accessibility for decision-making. Additionally, plans are in place to expand the capacity at the Rosslyn workshops, including upgrading their parts stores and creating more space for locomotive refurbishment and repairs. This move is aimed at accommodating the growing demand for their services and enhancing operational capabilities. James highlights the difficulties surrounding insuring rolling stock, noting some of the measures that have been put in place, such as the implementation of speed control, data loggers and digitised vigilance systems, to mitigate their operational risks. Our conversation also covers the changing landscape of rail operations in Africa, with a focus on policy reforms, open access, and the role of private operators. James notes recent policy changes in several countries that are opening up the market for private rail operators, which is a significant shift towards improving regional trade and the efficiency of rail services. A strong message came through that there is certainly a rail boom coming! Enjoy. #Traxtion #RailwayoperationsinAfrica #Locomotivemodernisation #Rosslynworkshops #railservices #rollingstock #JamesHolley #Afro4000 #locomotiverebuild #Railinfrastructuremodernisation ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ============================================================ RAILWAYS AFRICA MAGAZINE Subscribe: https://www.railways.africa/subscriptions/ Website: https://www.railways.africa Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/railways-africa/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/railwaysafrica Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/railwaysafrica Twitter: https://twitter.com/railwaysafrica Email - Editor: phillippa@railwaysafrica.com ============================================================ -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Zambia Railways Gears Up for Growth with Strategic Plans and Upgrades
April 10, 2024 • 15 MIN
Join us as we explore the dynamic changes and strategic advancements at Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL), in this Coffee with the Editor, filmed during the recently held Land-Linked Zambia 2024 event. Mr. Emmanuel Hachipuka, Chairperson of the Board, shares inside details on Zambia's rail sector transformation. We discuss the ambitious greenfield projects managed through the Zambian Ministry of Transport and Logistics, including the Chingola to Jimbe and the Chipata-Serenje lines, designed to enhance connectivity to major ports and boost trade across the region. Hear about some of the strategic plans to revitalize ZRL through its recapitalisation programme, the acquisition of new locomotives, and urgent upgrades needed for their existing wagons.
SNCC Transforming Railway Transportation in the DRC
April 10, 2024 • 13 MIN
In this Coffee with the Editor, with Ir. Victor Kaluila Muzembe, Director of Planning for the Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer du Congo (SNCC), we find out more about the strategic expansion and railway modernisation efforts amidst the Democratic Republic of the Congo's mining boom. We discuss how SNCC is opening its extensive railway network to private operators, securing significant private investments, and enhancing the economic landscape of the DRC. From increasing cargo capacity to connecting major urban centres like Kinshasa with vital mining regions. Don't forget to like, subscribe, and hit the bell icon to stay updated on our latest releases!
Namibia’s Rail Boom Latest Updates From TransNamib’s Acting CEO Webster Gonzo
April 10, 2024 • 11 MIN
In this Coffee with the Editor session, join us for an enlightening discussion with Webster Gonzo, the acting CEO of TransNamib, captured at the recently held Land-Linked Zambia 2024 event. Gonzo provides an update on Namibia’s major rail projects, including the strategic Trans-Kalahari Railway, the Kranzberg-Otjiwarongo, and the Trans-Zambezi initiatives, all supported significantly by the government.
Swala Rail Solutions' Vision For Rail In The DRC And Zambia
April 14, 2024 • 6 MIN
In this episode of Railways Africa Magazine's "Coffee with the Editor," filmed at the recent Land-Linked Zambia 2024 event, we sit down with Sifiso Ndhlukula, Managing Director of Swala Logistics. Sifiso discusses the establishment of Swala Rail Solutions, a commercial company registered in the DRC in 2022, with the aim of operating rail services between the DRC and Zambia. The company has procured four locomotives and 120 wagons from South Africa, with two locomotives and 60 wagons already in operation between DRC and Ndola.
TAZARA: Enhancing Operational Capabilities and SADC Railway Regional Integration
April 15, 2024 • 7 MIN
In this edition of Railways Africa Magazine’s 'Coffee with the Editor,' filmed at the recent Land-Linked Zambia 2024 event, we speak with Bruno Ching'andu, Managing Director of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA). He discusses the current state and forward-looking strategies set to shape the future of TAZARA.
Afri-Track's Evolution: Railway Construction, Pit-To-Port and Renewable Energy Solutions
April 16, 2024 • 4 MIN
Railways Africa Magazine's "Coffee with the Editor" filmed at the recent Land-Linked Zambia 2024 event, features Johan Laubscher, CEO of Afri-Track Group Holdings & Afri-Track Railway Construction. Johan elaborates on Afri-Track's strategic expansion plans, noting their ventures in South Africa, Botswana, and their home base in Namibia. According to Johan, the next stop is Zambia, as they now prepare to open a local office.
BBR’s Rail Initiatives In Zimbabwe And Beyond
April 16, 2024 • 4 MIN
In this edition of Railways Africa Magazine’s "Coffee with the Editor," filmed at the recent Land-Linked Zambia 2024 event, we speak with Raymond Shoniwa, the General Manager of Beitbridge Bulawayo Railway (BBR).
Beira Port Bolsters Facilities Amidst Growing Trade Demands
April 21, 2024 • 6 MIN
At the Land Linked Zambia Event held on April 4-5, 2024, in Zambia, we caught up with Mudiwa Mupfanochiya from Cornelder de Moçambique, S.A., for a "Coffee With the Editor" interview. Mudiwa provided an insightful overview of the operations and strategic role of the Port of Beira, managed by the private consortium formed through a partnership between the Mozambican public company Porto e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM) and the Cornelder Group, CdM, since 1998.
South Africa's Railways: Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga Discusses Milestones & Future Plans
April 29, 2024 • 7 MIN
Join us in this interview as the Minister of Transport, Ms. Sindisiwe Chikunga, discusses significant advancements in South Africa's passenger railway system, including the delivery of the 200th train from a total of 600, and the national signalling programme. As of 23 April, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has successfully recovered 31 of the 40 rail corridors.
Rail Reform In South Africa: Progress And Challenges
April 30, 2024 • 15 MIN
A brief discussion on the future of rail transport in South Africa with Ngwako Makaepea, Deputy Director General of Rail Transport, during the PRASA celebration in Cape Town on 23 April 2024. Ngwako highlights the Department of Transport's commitment to advancing rail reform, emphasising the importance of laying down foundational building blocks for a robust system. He discusses key initiatives such as the freight logistics roadmap and the establishment of the Transnet Infrastructure Manager.
PRASA’s Progress And Innovation In Train Systems And Signalling
May 1, 2024 • 7 MIN
Join Railways Africa Magazine for an insightful interview with Athanacious Makgamatha, General Manager: SAD Signals and Telecoms, as he discusses the latest advancements in South Africa’s passenger rail systems. Recorded during a celebratory event on April 23, marking the 200th trainset and the re-signalling of the Southern Line in Cape Town, Makgamatha shares valuable insights into ongoing progress and future plans. From enhanced signalling systems to proactive measures against vandalism and theft. Stay tuned for an engaging conversation that sheds light on the innovative strategies driving the evolution of South Africa’s rail networks. Subscribe and follow our channel for more interviews and industry updates.
Navigating The Rails Of Change: Prof. Havenga Comments On Current Rail Developments In South Africa
May 2, 2024 • 12 MIN
Professor Jan Havenga, the newly appointed board member of PRASA, offered an insightful dialogue on current rail affairs in South Africa, during the celebration of the PRASA’s 200th train launch in Cape Town on 23 April 2024. His expertise in freight logistics will bring fresh perspectives to passenger rail transport. Full article: https://www.railways.africa/rails-of-change-professor-havenga-current-rail-developments-south-africa/
Transnet Freight Rail Insights: Strategy, Infrastructure and Industry Collaboration
May 3, 2024 • 14 MIN
In this edition of Coffee with the Editor, we are joined by Russell Baatjies, CEO of Transnet Freight Rail (TFR). Russell provides invaluable insights into TFR's strategic direction, ongoing collaborations and formidable challenges. Our dialogue navigates through TFR's overarching vision and proactive approach in aligning with industry imperatives while anticipating future demands.
Building The Future: LAPSSET’s Strategic Railway Network To Boost Trade Between Kenya, South Sudan, and Ethiopia
May 27, 2024 • 9 MIN
In this insightful Coffee with the Editor, Mutahi (Alex) Wariithi, Senior Valuer at LAPSSET Corridor Development Authority, shares an in-depth look at the LAPSSET project and its current status, particularly focusing on the railway network. LAPSSET, which stands for Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport, is a transformative transport and economic corridor aimed at developing underutilised regions of Kenya, covering 70% of the country's land mass. The project leverages the strategic Port of Lamu to enhance connectivity and trade with the landlocked nations of South Sudan and Ethiopia.
Rail Integration And Regional Connectivity: Eng. Achieng’ Akun Beatrice On The EAC's Mission And Challenges
June 1, 2024 • 0 MIN
In this edition of Coffee with the Editor, Eng. Achieng’ Akun Beatrice discusses the role of the East African Community (EAC) and its mission to integrate the region through various policies and infrastructure development programmes. We touch on topics from project preparation, to standards, and harmonisation for seamless operability and connectivity. The East African Community is a regional intergovernmental organisation with member states from the East African region. Currently, the community has eight member states: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, and Somalia, the latest entrant. The EAC aims to create a competitive, prosperous, secure, and stable East African region. The mission is to achieve an integrated East African region with political, economic, and socio-cultural integration for the betterment of life for the people within the East African region. Additionally, the episode delves into the challenges of standardising railway systems across different countries and the ongoing efforts to harmonise these standards for better interoperability. The discussion also touches on the importance of digitalisation and predictive maintenance in improving infrastructure management and planning.
Driving East African Rail Connectivity: Insights From Central Corridor Transit Transport Facilitation Agency's Zaituni Nakonde
June 1, 2024 • 8 MIN
In this edition of Coffee with the Editor, Zaituni Nakonde, Director of Infrastructure Development at CCTTFA, discusses the agency's role and mandate in enhancing rail connectivity across East Africa. Learn how the Central Corridor is tackling funding challenges and promoting the new Standard Gauge Railway to boost regional trade and logistics.
Championing Youth, Skills, Diversity & Integrated Public Transport Across Africa: Nthabiseng Kubheka, CEO of Bombela Operating Company
June 25, 2024 • 12 MIN
Join us for an insightful conversation with Nthabiseng Kubheka, the Chief Executive Officer of Bombela Operating Company (PTY) Ltd, (BOC), as she shares her journey and achievements in the rail industry. Recognised as one of the top 15 women globally in rail by the International Railway Journal (IRJ), Nthabiseng discusses her passion for inclusion and diversity, the strategic initiatives at BOC, and the future of public transport in Africa. In this interview, Nthabiseng highlights: • The importance of inclusion and diversity at BOC. • The achievements of BOC in terms of gender diversity and youth employment. • The role of skills development and training in sustaining the rail industry. • Insights on the future of public transport in Africa, particularly in the context of Youth Month and Africa Rail. • The significance of smart city design and integrated public transport systems in African countries and the role of RATP Dev. • Bombela's operational success and commitment to safety, punctuality, and customer satisfaction. Don't miss this engaging discussion with one of the leading voices in the rail industry!