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It is impossible to overstate the importance of a functioning Transnet to the economy as a whole, and this is why its much-delayed results announcement is scary reading for the nation. Without an efficient system of ports, pipelines and railways, our exporters are fighting a battle blindfold and with a hand tied behind their backs, imported goods will become prohibitively expensive and supply chains that had hoped to be just in time will change to being flat out of luck.

Transnet was always going to get a clobbering from the pandemic, and its revenues dropped by 10.5% against the background of a subdued economy, but it also lists operational challenges such as port operating system issues, vandalism, derailments, cable theft and pipeline spills to take into account. As if that wasn’t enough to worry about, in July Transnet was affected by a cyberattack that meant systems were forced to shut down and in some cases had to be rebuilt before they could return to functionality...

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