South Africa Seeks to Protect Freight Rail From Extreme Weather

South Africa’s ports and rail operator, Transnet SOC Ltd., is taking steps to counter adverse weather conditions that have increasingly been interrupting deliveries.

Transnet’s freight-rail unit was forced to slow iron ore and manganese deliveries last month because of damage caused by tropical cyclone Eloise, the company said in a statement. Heavy rains scoured away soil at the base of the rail tracks, leading to derailments and line closures, it said.

“Increased changes and unpredictability in the weather patterns dictate that improved measures be implemented to avoid damage to the railway network and the broader port infrastructure,” Transnet said. It will conduct topographical and hydrological surveys to help determine what needs to be done to safeguard the infrastructure.

State-owned Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., the utility that generates most of South Africa’s electricity from coal, has also recently been affected by bad weather, with downpours simultaneously soaking through stockpiles of the fossil fuel and interrupting operations to extract new supply.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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