TRANSPORT

All on track

Jerode Moodley, Conference Manager of the Africa Rail 2015 event
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It is a fact that the upgrading and expanding of our rail network will significantly increase the country's export capacity and stimulate further investment. Last year government announced that not only will its plans to expand and improve South Africa’s rail infrastructure be a catalyst for further investment, but it will also present employment opportunities galore.

With the Africa Rail 2015 event hosted from 30 June until 1 July at the Sandton Convention Centre, all eyes were focussed on the importance of partnerships in driving Africa’s railway sector.

Eighteen years later, and billions of dollars of business being initiated, concluded or influenced at this show, Africa’s longest running and most successful railways event, will continues to provide the meeting place for buyers and sellers – to ultimately ensure that we stay on track with the plans in motion and address the challenges and needs of South Africa’s railway sector. Opportunity got the inside scoop from Jerode Moodley, Conference Manager of the Africa Rail 2015.

What is the importance of partnering in the freight rail industry?

Road freight is extremely expensive in comparison to rail freight. Improving rail infrastructure and congestion for the transporting of goods can help reduce cargo costs which in turn helps consumers save more. Rail also provides a safer alternative to road and reduces road congestion for the everyday driver.

What are the biggest infrastructure challenges faced in terms of freight rail in South Africa?

Congestion is the number cause for concern when choosing cargo transportation. Improving congestion at ports and borders will prove to offer a multitude of opportunities for the growth of South Africa’s freight rail.

Besides infrastructure, what are our biggest needs in terms of skills in the freight rail industry at the moment?

South Africa’s rail industry is very involved in bringing international technologies and expertise to local ground. A major focus area for freight rail operators is the training and development of the workforce and having them use international skills in South Africa’s railways.

What are the biggest sectors that are impacted by and linked to freight rail in South Africa?

The automotive sector is a leading end-user of SA’s freight rail. However, congestion at major points are causing car manufacturers to identify alternative methods and agreements for improved efficiency in the time taken for their deliveries to get to their final destination.

What is the importance of cross border investment in railway developments?

With cross-border investment and co-operation, countries will be able to more easily trade goods and improve the continent’s economy. Rail is central to the success of the continent, particularly landlocked countries. By improving the state interconnecting intra-African railways, congestion, time, and costs are all reduced.

How are governements in Africa working together towards an inter-continental rail network that will assist inter-continental trade and investment – and where are we seeing the biggest synergies between African nations?

The North-South corridor has been on the books for a very long time. We are finally seeing some movement and action on that project, which will inevitably transform the landscape of intra-African trade. East Africa is very involved in improving the status of freight rail for their region, with the east African community’s involvement and efforts proving to be the catalyst for rail development.

Can you tell us more about the Africa Rail 2015 event in Sandton Johannesburg event and what you hope to achieve?

Africa Rail is the go-to event for African railway operators, end-users, associations, governments and regulators. We see many speakers and delegates returning annually to learn, network and pick up on innovative solutions to their logistics and operational challenges. Each year, we aim to highlight big challenges the industry is facing, and find new and effective solutions and tips on solving those challenges from the experts who have experienced it themselves. This year, we brought together the same high calibre of speakers, exhibitors and sponsors to help grow and evolve Africa’s railways. Our dream is to see successful railways operating in all countries across the continent. We aim to see our operators compete on an international platform for the most efficient, effective and safe railways around.

 

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