The release of the draft network statement by Transnet marks a crucial step in preparation for open access to rail, which will introduce private operators and competition on South Africa’s freight rail network under the management of an independent rail infrastructure manager.

Rail reform is now being directed by a number of regulatory instruments, the first being the National Rail Policy White Paper (NRP), approved by the cabinet on March 23 2022. It introduces radical structural reforms in the rail sector intended to enable and facilitate private sector investment, optimal utilisation of rail, and effective economic regulation that enables equitable access to the rail network and ensures that it is optimally maintained. The policy introduces third-party access in the first instance on rail and eventually open access. This access will ultimately be regulated by the soon-to-be-established transport economic regulator and an enhanced role of the rail safety regulator (RSR)......

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