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Your editorial opinion refers (“Government should take up Minerals Council offer to help sort out Transnet”, January 16).

Much has been written about the purported leaked document from the Minerals Council to the Transnet board decrying Transnet’s performance and calling for dramatic changes to the company’s leadership. One can only speculate on the motive behind such callous action, the “noise” surrounding the constant allegations of a lack of engagement and one-sided commentary to the media, which appears to be growing.

Transnet has shared its business strategy with all industry players. This speaks, inter alia, to the introduction of junior miners and the time frames of the contracts, which expire at the end of March in the case of manganese, 2024 for coal and 2027 for ore.

Transnet is often issued with legal and political threats. The Minerals Council, for its part, is always at pains to remind Transnet that it has direct access to the highest decision-makers in the country. We have urged it to use the agreed upon platform(s) to establish solutions for both parties and for common purpose.

Transnet engages with the Minerals Council and industry members continuously. These take the form of CEO round-table discussions, channel optimisation team meetings, industry sessions, weekly tactical volume planning sessions as well as monthly individual customer meetings.

A quick breakdown of the engagements indicates the depth and frequency of such sessions:

  • Weekly tactical planning sessions where capacity is allocated on Transnet infrastructure to customers on a fair and equitable basis to meet their volume requirements, provide a weekly resolution view of capacity and utilisation to help Transnet optimise the allocation of assets and resources, and provide the customer with a basis for scheduling vessels to meet delivery of material to the port.
  • The monthly customer meetings are held to align with contractual agreement, measure performance against set targets and communicate and share operational challenges that might impact the customers business.
  • Channel optimisation team meetings, six of which were held from February 2022 to date, aimed at aligning with customers on performance, providing an indication of the customer market, identifying quick wins to improve customer service, and introducing continuous improvement initiatives.
  • Round-table discussions that are held twice a year. These are chaired by the Transnet Freight Rail CEO and focus on issues affecting the industry and areas of collaboration.
  • Industry sessions, of which two were held last year. The aim is to align with customers on performance, gain insight into the customer market, identify quick wins to improve customer service, and introduce continuous improvement initiatives.

These are constructive engagements to strengthen an open and collaborative relationship between Transnet and its customers. Transnet’s success is inextricably linked to the Minerals Council and its members and our delivery to them is a priority for us.

In December the Transnet board and Minerals Council office bearers also established joint collaborative structures to ensure that all possible actions are taken to stabilise and improve the throughput of SA’s rail and ports systems to enable inclusive growth and maximise the movement of commodities in the national interest. Let’s give them time to deliver.

Sizakele Mzimela
CEO, Transnet Freight Rail

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