• Making a move

    Making a move

    A 20-year agreement between two transport companies will see the introduction of a pilot project freight service in South Africa that uses hybrid trailers on both road and rail networks.

    The joint venture between the local subsidiary of global rail-cargo technology company RailRunner South Africa and state-owned logistics group Transnet will potentially save the country’s trucking industry 20% in logistics costs by allowing containers to be quickly changed over to be carried by a more energy-efficient rail service.

    The technology relies on a special trailer chassis that connects to a truck but can also be used on rail line bogies (the ‘wheels’ of a train) once the road tyres are raised pneumatically. The trailer eliminates the need for cranes or dedicated freight terminals.

    According to a report by How We Made It In Africa, the service will initially focus on the 1 400 km Cape corridor (connecting Cape Town and Johannesburg). RailRunner estimates the contract’s value at US$400 million in service revenues and third-party equipment sales.

    18 October 2016
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images