Transnet Freight Rail

Transnet Freight Rail is a South African rail transport company, formerly known as Spoornet. It was part of the South African Railways and Harbours Administration, a state-controlled organisation that employed hundreds of thousands of people for decades from the first half of the 20th century and was widely referred to by the initials SAR&H (SAS&H in Afrikaans).

Customer complaints about serious problems with Transnet Freight Rail’s service were reported in 2010. Its head office is in Inyanda House in Parktown, Johannesburg.


Transnet Freight Rail is a freight logistics and passenger transport railway. It is the largest freight hauler in Africa. The company comprises several businesses:

  • GFB Commercial (General Freight Business) – Transnet’s largest division; handles over 50% of its freight;
  • Coal Line, serving coal exporters on the Mpumalanga – Richards Bay line; second largest coal railway in the world, delivering 62 million tonnes of coal (also known as “Black Gold”) in the year ending 31 March 2010;
  • Ore Export Line – dedicated to iron ore transport on the Sishen to Saldanha line;
  • Luxrail – The operation of the Blue Train, which is designed as a five-star hotel on wheels.

Transnet also formerly owned Shosholoza Meyl, the non-luxury long-distance passenger rail service. Shosholoza Meyl was transferred to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa on 23 December 2008. A line in the Eastern Cape is leased to Kei Rail.

Business Units

Transnet Freight Rail is divided into 6 Business Units:

  • Agriculture and Bulk Liquids (“ABL”)
  • Coal Business Unit (Coal Line)
  • Intermodal (Container) and Automotive Business Unit (“CAB”) (Johannesburg-Durban Line)
  • Iron Ore and Manganese Business Unit (Kimberley-Port Elizabeth & Ore Export Line
  • Mineral Mining and Chrome Business Unit (“MMC”) (Witbank-Komatipoort & Phalaborwa-Komatipoort Lines)
  • Steel and Cement Business Unit (“SAC”)

The launch of the Business Units took place in a company wide event for all managerial staff on 18 April .