Transnet Launches Cookhouse-Blaney Line In The Eastern Cape

Transnet Launches Cookhouse-Blaney Line In The Eastern Cape

Transnet SOC Ltd has reaffirmed its commitment to reopen South Africa’s branch lines, through a R26 million investment in the reinstatement and rehabilitation of the Cookhouse-Blaney line in the Eastern Cape.

The 200km branch line - with volume projection of 30 000 tons per annum - was opened this morning by Transnet. The line will provide an important in-bound rail transit between the East London IDZ and the Coega IDZ, as well as create an escape route for the Gqeberha line, in case of any incident between Cookhouse and De Aar.

The investment is as a result of renewed interest shown by the business community to transport beverages and other FMCG products, cement and containers with auto parts between Gqeberha and East London. An opportunity was identified for additional volumes for Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), and to create a competitive link to the rest of the country. It also forms part of Transnet’s strategy to develop the region.

The re-opening of the line is expected to positively impact the Eastern Cape Province in the following ways:

  • Reduce the cost of doing business in the province.
  • Migrate freight from road to rail, thereby lowering the impact on the province’s road infrastructure.
  • Support and enable the growth and development of the Eastern Cape manufacturing sector and export footprint on agriculture and mining goods.
  • Creation of direct and indirect job opportunities.
  • Enable economic growth and ensure security of supply through the provision of appropriate rail infrastructure in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

The Cookhouse-Blaney line traverses three local municipalities, two district municipalities and a metro municipality. These are; Blue Crane, Raymond Mhlaba, Amahlathi local municipalities; Amathole and Sarah Baartman District Municipalities and the Buffalo City Metro Municipality.

Transnet Group Chief Executive, Portia Derby said, “The re-opening of this branch line re-affirms our commitment to resuscitate economic development in regions that have been historically under-served in terms of infrastructure investment. The line, which is a link between two strategic economic hubs in the Eastern Cape, will reduce the cost of doing business for the movement goods between these two cities.”

TFR Chief Executive, Sizakele Mzimela, said the success of this project was not only for Transnet, but for the shared benefit of the Eastern Cape Province and the region in particular. “For TFR, the reopening of this branch line is a massive achievement and fits squarely with Transnet's strategy to contribute to our country’s economic recovery.”

"In addition to job creation opportunities, our sincere hope is to help stimulate economic growth by looking at ways we can connect with the communities this line touches, on key maintenance projects. This means longer-term, sustainable opportunities beyond the once-off refurbishment", she said.

In his State of the Province Address earlier this year, Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Mabuyane highlighted the strategic importance of the Cookhouse-Blaney railway line saying that it will improve trade routes in the province and enable the transshipment of containers from Gqeberha to East London. “We are very much excited about the new collaboration and partnership between government and Transnet, as well as business for coming on-board to make full use of the available capacity, the expertise, and experience in the business of freight movement management this partnership offers," he said.

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