Most of Africa’s railway line networks have less than 10% of the road transport market share. It is vital that this statistic changes or the mining industry’s growth and development on the continent will be stunted, writes Laura Cornish.
It is undeniable fact that an efficient, fully functioning railway line is superior to road in bulk freight transportation, says Grindrod Rail divisional chief executive James Holley. Railway lines are therefore the most viable solution to meeting the African mining sector’s pit-to-port needs to ensure sufficient volumes are moved quickly and effectively.
“Up until recently, the construction of new railways and expansion and upgrade of existing railways has not been financially viable because there has been no strategic drive by governments to move volumes from road to rail. This is rapidly changing however with governments’ increased understanding and appreciation that heavy load-bearing trucks are destroying local road networks, which is leading to substantial cash requirements for maintenance. Together with regional stability, improved economic growth and mining investment, railways are becoming financially viable and are back on the table,” Holley outlines.