Transnet to create nearly 600,000 jobs in S.Africa
South Africa’s state-owned logistics company Transnet on Tuesday announced plans to create 588,000 jobs in its seven-year, $37.8-billion expansion programme.
The 300-billion-rand (30-billion-euro) scheme includes plans to develop railways, sea ports and pipelines to expand freight transport and ease bottlenecks that hamper mining exports, the company said.
Rail projects account for about two thirds of the total cost, for a project that will increase the network’s capacity from the current 200 million tonnes to 350 million tonnes by 2019, Transnet said.
“The increase will have a major impact on the cost of doing business. Studies conducted by Transnet show that rail in South Africa is on average 75 percent cheaper than road transport,” it said.
“The large-scale shift from road to rail will address costs, congestion and reduce carbon emissions.”
The expansion will also make Transnet Freight Rail the world’s fifth biggest rail freight company, it added.
The plan will nearly double the capacity’s South Africa’s ports, with pipeline capacity growing 17 percent, Transnet said.
In seven years, the company predicted a tripling of revenue to 128 billion rands.
Exporters blame inadequate railways and congested ports for bottlenecks in shipments of key minerals, including coal, iron and manganese, preventing South Africa from keeping up with global demand.
“Transnet’s investment programme … is expected to create and sustain hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect jobs, every year for the next seven years,” it said.
“In uncertain economic conditions like this, state-owned companies and major businesses have a responsibility to step forward, invest and create jobs.”
South Africa announced in February a nine-year, 3.2-trillion-rand plan to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure to shore up economic growth and create jobs to help reduce an unemployment rate of nearly 24 percent.