The 2019 AGM of Railroad Association of South Africa that held during the week at Timken SA, Kempton Park deliberated on many issues touching on railway financing, railway ambitions of many African nations and the solution readily available through the Luxembourg Protocol.
The AGM was addressed by RRA CEO Mesela Nhlapo , Transnet Board Chair Dr Popo Molefe and Chair of the RWG Howard Rosen came at a critical time in the life of South Africa and African Railways.
Kevin Holloway delivering President’s Report said, “2019 will see Transnet migrate from the 7 Year MDS to Transnet 4.0 Strategy. MDS has been largely a capital-intensive strategy to create capacity to meet expected future demand and improve operational efficiencies.
“This is all very encouraging and we trust that the Transnet Leadership will drive these plans to fruition, at the same time fully utilizing local industry’s capacity and competence”, he said in reference to Transnet push to implement an African Growth Strategy.
Howard Rosen, Chair of the Rail Working Group, addressing the RRA AGM said, “Railways are essential for sustainable development. Lack of integrated African rail networks is holding back growth and infra-continental free trade. Roads cannot take strain from increased trucking. Cities are strangled from congestion and pollution.
“When AfCTA comes into full force, large volumes of goods and bulk commodities, including mining outputs will be generated, creating huge markets. Africa’s vast size and landlocked countries encourage development of high-speed, high-capacity transport corridors
“The Luxembourg Protocol will change the way rolling stock is financed in the future, opening door to cheaper private credit without state finance or guarantee. SA should sign and then ratify the Protocol at earliest opportunity – it is a game changer”, he said.
The RRA CEO, Mesela Nhlapo delivering the CEO’s Report to members of the association said “Africa desperately needs more investment in its railways; both infrastructure and rolling stock. The problem is how to pay for it.”
“Many countries are embarking on road-to-rail initiatives in line with their sovereign infrastructure development objectives, however due to the size of investment required there are existing limitations on their procurement abilities”, she said.
Full report coming