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Derailed coal train blocks route to South African export terminal

A rail link connecting mines to the Richards Bay export terminal in South Africa was blocked after 51 wagons of a 200-wagon coal train derailed, Reuters reported Dec. 20, citing Transnet, which operates the trains.

Transnet's freight rail unit said the closure will impact exports of all commodities transported through the rail line, including coal and chrome. No injuries were reported in the incident.

Engineers and maintenance crew will re-rail the wagons and start repair work, however, it is unknown at this point when operations are expected to resume.

The company said it is looking to reopen one line that was not badly damaged as soon as possible. South Africa loaded 7.95 million tonnes of coal in December, compared to 5.3 Mt in November and 6.5 Mt a year ago, Reuters added, citing Refinitiv Eikon data. Coal loadings have surged due to higher Asian demand.

Transnet halted all activity on the Saldanha iron ore export rail line after a truck collision severely damaged a railway bridge in the Western Cape on Nov. 28. It reopened the iron ore export route two days earlier than anticipated by building a temporary steel bridge, according to a Dec. 10 statement.