Transnet on Friday said it had lifted a force majeure declaration on its coal line, after restoring the main export route for the commodity following a derailment over two weeks ago.
A train carrying coal for export derailed on November 8 on Transnet’s North Corridor, causing the partial closure of the train line that is also used to transport chrome and other commodities. The rail utility said the derailment had resulted in the increased use of trucks taking coal to port by road as miners scrambled to meet demand for the commodity in export markets.
Although the railway line was cleared by November 19, Transnet said it could not resume normal service due to other critical restoration work which was not yet complete.
“The recent assessment of the site indicates that the normal resumption of services on the coal line can be immediately phased in. Accordingly, the force majeure declared on 10 November 2022 was lifted today, 25 November 2022,” Transnet said in a statement.
South Africa has this year seen a surge in demand for its coal, mainly from Europe, after the European Union banned imports of the fossil fuel from Russia. However, insufficient rail capacity and poorly maintained infrastructure have hobbled Transnet’s capacity to haul coal and other commodities to ports.