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The Commercial Department at Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) encompasses the following portfolios:

  • Commercial Management,
  • Commercial Strategy and Planning,
  • Market Research and Insights,
  • Customer Experience Management,
  • Real Estate Management,
  • New Business Development,
  • The Blue Train.

The Acting General Manager of the Commercial Department is  Phumzile Sithol.


This division was known as Sales and Marketing (SAM), but with the adoption of the Business Unit (BU) approach, the sales function was relocated to Business Units.

Commercial Management

The Commercial Management department’s key role is to support the General Manager: Commercial in establishing sound policies and principles to ensure revenue is secured and properly accounted for.

TFR/Customer relationships and conduct are governed by the Transport Agreements sub-department, whilst Commercial order entry transactions are governed and monitored through the establishment of sound Policies and Procedures and the Revenue Integrity Compliance function.

The capability and functionality of the pricing of services to customers is managed through the Pricing sub-department and the final accountability for TFR’s accurate revenue forecasting and revenue reporting lies with the Business Performance sub-department.

Commercial Strategy and Planning

The role of Commercial Strategy and Planning is to maximise volumes, revenue growth and yield by reviewing markets and customers from a customer’s perspective and predicting and optimising product availability and revenue.


Key elements of the Commercial Strategy and Planning function include:

  • Redefining pricing strategies and developing disciplined tactics by anticipating value created for customers and setting prices to capture that value,
  • Pricing and allocating capacity optimally,
  • Measuring customer responsiveness to marketing initiatives in order to strike a balance between volume growth and profitability,
  • Strategically driving revenue through different channels.

Market Research and Insights

The Research department exists to ensure that TFR is appropriately positioned in the transport and logistics market by:

Providing TFR with research and insights by conducting the macro business environment analysis.

Establishing a sound marketing intelligence database through:

Customer information- full understanding of preferences, behaviour, brand loyalty, satisfaction rates,

Product information - what is available in the market, their pricing, and their marketing activities,

Market information - macro view of market size, segments, share, forecasted growth as well as economic and technological trends,

Competitor information- competitors’ strategies, organisational structures, product investment portfolios and future product plans.

All the above culminate in the coordination and compilation of the traffic file in all its resolutions (Next 7 years, NYB, NQB and NWB) and reporting thereof.

To remain competitive, the Research department recognises the need to efficiently and effectively create, locate, capture and share the organisation’s knowledge and expertise by making the organisation’s knowledge explicit and recording it for easier distribution and reuse.

A closer working relationship with the Knowledge Centre has ensured that duplications are eliminated and in appreciation of the excellent repository they already have, all relevant documents will be channelled through their site.

It is envisaged that through this initiative, TFR will achieve one or more of the following:

  • Foster innovation by encouraging the free flow of ideas,
  • Collaborative working,
  • Leverage the expertise of people across the organisation.
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Did you Know ?

“TFR has from April 2012 switched from regions to the more customer focused Business Units, i.e. Agriculture and Bulk Liquids, Steel and Cement, Mineral Mining and Chrome, Iron Ore & Manganese, Coal as well as Container & Automotive Business”

“TFR owns and maintains a network of 20 500 route km (22 000 track km) connected to ports and the rail networks of neighbouring countries”

“Schedule railway means you can set your watch and wait for the train to arrive and it will be there on the exact time…..Siyabonga Gama TFR Chief Executive”

“In line with our Market Demand Strategy objective of knowing the customer experience to increase satisfaction, we are now responding to your business queries through our one stop Customer Interaction Center.
Call us on 0860 690 730