A Peep Into South Africa new National Rail Policy

South Africa’s White Paper on National Rail Policy aims to give a strategic direction for South African rail development.

The white paper sets out a focus on redressing the importance of rail over road in passenger and freight movement. It seeks to ensure rail contributes to the economy while helping to meet South Africa’s climate mitigation targets.

According to the white paper, the main focus is on delivering a renaissance in rail in the markets of ‘heavy haul, heavy intermodal, contemporary urban and regional rapid transit, and high and higher speed (160 to 300 km/h).’

Some of the goals outlined in the National Rail Policy are to:

  • Reposition rail as the backbone of SA’s urban and medium-to-long-distance transport mobility needs for both commuters and freight.
  • Provide affordable mobility for people and visitors in densely populated urban settings.
  • Enhance the competitiveness of the country’s exports and facilitate trade.
  • Maximise the socio-economic contribution of rail in South Africa and the wider Southern Africa region.
  • Support SA’s commitments to mitigate climate change by increasing rail’s contribution.
  • Facilitate modal shift from road to rail for both freight and passengers.

The policy sets out a range of objectives and activities that will be pursued to meet these goals.

However, there’s a clear primary intervention focused on increasing rail sector investment and a secondary intervention of developing appropriate institutions.

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