Swazi Rail Link Project

With the feasibility phase of the Swaziland Rail Link Project reaching an advanced stage, we are today happy to report that significant progress has been achieved and several milestones reached since the concept study was commissioned in 2011 to investigate the provision of a rail link from Lothair in South Africa to a suitable location in Swaziland.

The Swaziland Rail Link – a seamless project between the two countries – was formalised through the signing of the Inter- Governmental Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the South African and Swaziland governments on 2 August 2012. The signing of the Inter Rail MOU by Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) and Swaziland Railway (SR) on 22 November 2012, cemented the relationship at business and technical levels.

The key objectives of the project are to:

  • Enhance regional integration.
  • Provide viable connections for rail freight from Western Swaziland to markets in South Africa.
  • Provide Transnet with an alternative route for moving general freight to Richards Bay, via Swaziland, thus freeing capacity on the coal line.

It is against this background that Swaziland Railway and Transnet have agreed to develop a 146 kilometre railway line between Lothair in Mpumalanga and Sidvokodvo in Swaziland as well as upgrading adjacent networks in both countries.

In terms of major strides thus far made towards realising our objectives, we are happy to report that - since the launch of the project - the following were among key milestones reached:

  • The completion of a concept study in 2011.
  • The completion of a pre-feasibility study in March 2013.
  • The start of a feasibility study, which is scheduled for completion around March, 2014.
  • Based on the outcome of the feasibility study, we envisage the commencement of construction in 2015.
  • The targeted completion date is 2017.

In the course of the feasibility study, we are addressing land acquisition and relocation of affected stakeholders; environmental impact assessments; the design of the line and construction cost estimates. As we engage stakeholders along the proposed route, we are very encouraged by the co-operation we continue to receive from the affected communities in South Africa and Swaziland.

The Swaziland Rail Link project will have significant socio-economic benefits during the construction and operational phases. We anticipate that 3 400 construction-related jobs will be created in South Africa and 2 700 in Swaziland.

The long-term employment impact arising from train operations and maintenance extend to an estimated 500 jobs in South Africa and 300 in Swaziland.

The collaboration between the two governments and railway companies has seen much sharing of views related to rail engineering and operations. This has been characterised by exhaustive and inclusive consultation, meeting the highest expectations of sound corporate governance. A project team was established to implement project under the leadership of a joint steering committee that is co-chaired by the Chief Executives of Swaziland Railway and Transnet Freight Rail.

We are confident that the collaboration between the two railways will usher in a new era in transport logistics in South Africa and in Swaziland.

The two railways wish to express their appreciation to the governments of the Kingdom of Swaziland and South Africa for the support the project continues to enjoy.

Thank you.

Swaziland Railway Building
Dzeliwe Street
Mbabane

Tel: +268 2411 7400
Fax: +268 2411 7499

Email: info@swazirail.co.sz

P.O. Box 475
Mbabane
Hhohho
H100
Kingdom of Swaziland

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