The preparations of the Swaziland Rail Link (SRL) are now at an advanced stage with the realisation of the 150km long railway line being more realistic on a daily basis. The SRL is the development of a line linking South Africa and Swaziland thereby decongesting the Coal line and unlocking capacity on the eastern mainline and the North South Corridor.
Speaking at the Southern African Railways Association, the SRL Programme Director on the South African side Mr Wilson Mogoba said that feasibility studies of the Greenfields are complete and the authorities in South Africa and Swaziland have granted the environmental permits. Mr Mogoba reported that the authorities in South Africa and Swaziland have granted a Water Use Licenses and the funding structure of the project is being finalised.
“In South Africa, the purchasing of 506 hectares of land has been approved and is ongoing and the approval to exhume over 120 graves. The plans to resettle the affected households are also in progress as well as the feasibility studies on the brownfields.
Significant work has been conducted in Swaziland with over 510 graves exhumed and we are still going to resettle and relocate 235 affected households” said Wilson.
The SRL is envisaged to overcome over 4.93 Mtpa capacity constraints and have up to 36Mtpa, using 20t/a. The North-South corridor capacity will be up to 45mtpa using 20t/a. According to Mogoba the realisation of this link will see export coal capacity to be more than 100Mtpa, using 26t/a. This strategic link will also serve as a backup to the coal line.
The introduction of SRL is expected to have many positive spin-offs to SA, Swaziland and the SADC region. This will enhance rail infrastructure that will be a catalyst for regional economic development and improve integration for the over border logistics between SA, Swaziland and Mozambique, thus promoting the growth of intra-African trade. The link will also assist Transnet on its road to rail migration strategy. This mega project is estimated to have business opportunities to the value of R894 billion in SA and R1.7 billion in Swaziland and create approximately 263 and 364 permanent jobs in Swaziland and South Africa respectively.
Source: Railways Africa