Bulk cargo sets new rail transport record on Tsumeb Walvis Bay route
Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb has become one of TransNamib’s most important clients, helping the state-owned transporter to set new freight records, and taking a substantial number of heavy trucks off Namibian roads.
Copper concentrate transported by rail from Tsumeb to Walvis Bay increased by 53% in the second quarter compared to the first three months of this year. In total, TransNamib moved more than 30,200 tonnes of copper during the quarter from the smelter to the harbour.
These large loads continued into the first week of July when another freight record was exceeded. In the space of a single week, TransNamib transported more than 6300 tonnes of copper concentrate from Tsumeb. If this rate continues, the rail operator will transport almost as much copper during July alone, at it has carried during the first quarter.
Acknowledging the key role its client plays, TransNamib stated “The movement of copper between Tsumeb and Walvis Bay is a concerted effort and continuous engagement between TransNamib and its customer to better serve and understand the needs of the customer.”
Shifting bulk freight to rail has a measurable impact on road safety. Last week’s record tonnage removed 180 heavy duty trucks from the Tsumeb Walvis Bay route, and the second quarter’s jump in tonnage, reduced truck traffic by about 60 trucks per day.
TransNamib’s Chief Corporate Communications officer, Ailly Hangula-Paulino said the significant growth in freight fits in with the parastatal’s strategic objective to move more bulk freight by rail. “The railway is designed for bulk transportation, [it helps] preserve road infrastructure and it decongests roads and alleviates road accidents,” she said.
On operational advantages, she stated “the competitive advantage of rail over road is that it can handle significantly more freight in bulk volumes at lower prices.”
TransNamib said it will continue to pursue a strategy of shifting bulk freight away from road haulage, especially for commodities transported from the coast to the interior, like fuel.