According to the publication, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is currently probing this syndicate, believed to involve a network of Transnet employees and various middlemen in the freight logistics industry.
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‘Ghost Train’ scam believed to include Transnet employees
The alleged method involves inserting extra trains into valid orders paid for by mining companies, particularly for coal shipments destined for the Richards Bay Coal Terminal.
These additional trains are subsequently rerouted through middlemen to other buyers who acquire the coal at reduced prices.
Reports indicate that each train could yield illicit profits of up to R2 million for the syndicate.
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This investigation represents just one facet of Transnet’s extensive financial challenges.
The company reported a staggering R5.7 billion loss for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2023, compared to a R5 billion profit the previous year.
The freight rail business has also faced a 13.6% drop in delivery volumes during this period, attributed to factors such as mismanagement, idle locomotives, and cable theft.
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Companies have allegedly opted for road transport
In response to these challenges, some mining companies have opt for road transport instead of relying on Transnet’s services.
Additionally, the Minerals Council, representing many local mining firms, estimates that poorly managed ports and freight rail lines may have cost the country up to R150 billion in lost exports last year.
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Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has committed to revitalizing Transnet’s performance.
He pledged to halt the deterioration in operational and financial aspects and implement a radical plan to ensure efficiency.
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