Swaziland Railway at the Launch of the Joint Operations Center ( JOC)


1.0 Background

In recent years Maputo Port and Matola Terminal have become heavily utilized by Mozambican exporters and importers as well as traders from South Africa and Swaziland. The high utilization necessitated better coordination of the flow of traffic into Maputo Port and Matola Terminal. It was observed that as the traffic grew in volume there were delays in the port caused by congestion of railway lines.

Swaziland was represented by the Honourable (Minister of Natural Resources and Energy) Jabulile Mashwama standing in for the held up Minister of Public Works and Transport, Pastor Lindiwe Dlamini. The CEO Mr Stephenson Ngubane, Assistant Director Operations Mr Vincent Mamba, Assistant Director Commercial and Marketing Mr Sandla Msibi and Corporate Communications Specialist Mr Sive Manana.

2.0 Objective of Setting up the Joint Operations Center

The objective was to bring all the role players to work on the same platform (desk) for better coordination of traffic flows thus reducing delays and avoiding congestion of the ports. All the traffic flows from local Mozambican international cargo, from Swaziland and South Africa need space, if there is no coordination, it was observed that everyone was negatively affected.

3.0 The Key Players

The key players are; Swaziland Railway (SR), Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), Mozambique Railways & Ports (CFM) and Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC).

The 4 organizations entered into an operational agreement to establish the Joint Operation Center, for better management of the train movements to the various port terminals. Each member (key player) will have staff working 24 hrs at this center, monitoring train movements and sharing information instantly because they are working from the same desk. The center is equipped with computer systems to aid the staff in monitoring traffic movement.

4.0 The Benefits

  • All the players will benefit by having the assurance that their traffic/cargo will be accommodated and will run on schedule.
  • Congestion of the port will be avoided through planned execution and coordination of the trains
  • Congestion of the railway yards will be avoided
  • Waiting time of trains will be reduced
  • Turnaround time of wagons and locomotives will be reduced
  • There will better management of incidents because all the players will share information instantly and discuss how to deal with those incidents that would cause delays
  • More traffic will be handled by the Maputo Port and Matola Terminal from the current 12 million to as high as 32 million in future years
  • If Maputo is well coordinated and receives high volumes of traffic, TRADERS from all three countries will be competitive with their products in the international market due to reduced transport and logistics costs.

Swaziland Case

Swaziland exports about 1.2 million tonnes of iron –ore per year through Maputo Port and 275,000 tonnes of sugar per year through the same port. These commodities are transported by rail. Swaziland Railway and the Swaziland exporters have a vested interest in the operations of Maputo Port and Matola Terminal. We would like to see our exports handled efficiently and without hindrance hence the involvement of SR in this cooperation agreement. We must protect our exporters to avoid being marginalized, if we were not participating certain decisions would be taken detrimental to us.

5.0 The Launch of the JOC in September 2014

The Swaziland Government Was invited to witness this concept because it came by in alignment with the provisions of the Transport Protocol which states that SADC Governments want to see the provision of seamless service, coordinated and integrated operations. The JOC is the perfect model in that it’s a center where everybody is, it is real and not by remote control or virtual. There is no communication gap between all the players who are to ensure smooth movement of goods in support of the 3 countries.

Since Railways are Government Agents in extending services to the economy it is fitting and appropriate that Representatives of Government witness this occasion.

By: S.Z. Ngubane
     Chief Executive Officer
     Swaziland Railway

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