South Africa’s Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) has lifted the force majeure imposed on the export coal line following the derailment of 97 fully laden railcars on November 8, 2022. TFR said the derailment, which occurred between Bloubank and Nhlazatshe stations, caused massive damage to infrastructure and rolling stock, necessitating the closure of both lines. This impacted the service from the mines to Richards Bay, hampering the performance of contractual obligations by Transnet and coal exporters.
A joint recovery operation between Transnet, the coal export industry, and other stakeholders, worked around the clock to ensure that the service line is restored to full operation efficiently and effectively, leading to the reopening of both railway lines by November 19, 2022. However, TFR said it was not in a position to immediately resume normal services at full capacity on the Coal Line because certain critical restoration works remain outstanding. A more recent assessment of the site indicated that services on the Coal Line could resume. Accordingly, the force majeure declared on November 10, 2022 was lifted on November 24, 2022.