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​Keeping green in TFR



Environmental Management, a portfolio within the Risk Management Department is the custodian of environmental management process activities within Transnet Freight Rail.

Its role includes, amongst others, ensuring that and best practice environmental principles and best practice are integrated within planning and operational execution to foster operational efficiency. The department is responsible for environmental stewardship and assurance, in coordination with line development of risk control processes that foster environmental performance and operational efficiency.

Where pollution preventative measures could not applied, remediation measures are implemented as part of service design and execution to ensure that the effects of pollution are rehabilitated and proper control are put in place.

The role is to further ensure that reasonable measures are developed to manage operational activities that have potential to adversely affect the environmental integrity our business relies on. It further ensures that the environment is safe for operations whilst embedding environmental principles, best practice and fostering compliance.


Environmental Compliance

Environmental risks have been profiled and form part of the top 10 risks of Transnet Freight Rail.

 A suit of initiatives and risk treatment controls have been developed, implemented and are being managed throughout the business to protect the health and safety of personnel and at the same time advocating operational efficiency. In addition Risk Control Plans for compliance to the National Environmental Management Act, 1998, National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 and National Water Act, 2008 have been developed and the requirements are managed and addressed.


Developmental proposals are screened to ensure that environmental requirements such as the Environmental Impact Assessment are performed in terms of Section 24 and 24D of the National Environmental Management Act whilst environmental permits are also applied for in terms of the National Water Act, 2008, National Heritage Act, 1999.

Development of Integrated Management Systems (IMS)

In order to ensure proactive management of operational activities and potential risks to the business, Transnet Freight Rail is moving towards integrated Management System (IMS).


This amalgamated system includes the management of risk associated with compliance to Railway Safety, Occupational Health and Safety, Environment and Quality.


To achieve this milestone, the SHEQ policy has been maintained and periodically reviewed to articulate the organisational goal relating to SHEQ management. In support of this, Environmental Management System (EMS) that is in line with ISO14001 standard is being implemented across the business piloting first at identified operational area such as Coega Railway line and Marshalling Yard, Coal line and City Deep Container Terminal.

In support of our Environmental Management System, the following key Environmental Management Programs are being pursuit to supports the system.

1. Country-wide Asbestos Rehabilitation Program

The program is aimed at the identification and quantification of historical asbestos pollution liability in yards, depots and other business operational areas and the subsequent clean-up. A total of 25 sites have been identified.

Other than ensuring compliance with the Asbestos Regulations, the program is primarily focussed on preventing injuries and protecting employees and members of the public from potential exposure to asbestos fibres.

Meanwhile, given the quantities of asbestos contamination, Transnet Freight Rail is undertaking the feasibility of converting either De Aar of Upington Quarries into Asbestos Landfill sites. The feasibility of a Waste-by Rail Concept is being pursuit.

2. Hydrocarbon Pollution Elimination (HPE) Program

The focus of this initiative is to clean historical hydrocarbon polluted sites countrywide in collaboration with Transnet Engineering and Transnet Capital Projects. A total of 68 sites are currently being cleaned. Whilst cleaning of these areas is the ultimate, development of preventative measures, through risk assessment and root-cause analysis is key to sustainability.

Phase 2 would entail the clean-up of fuelling sites which would be preceded by the refurbishment of fuelling infrastructure.

3. Accelerated Lessee Management Program

The program has been developed in response to environmental liabilities arise from tenant is aimed at controlling lessee activities that have a potential to impact negatively on Transnet Freight Rail properties. In addition to foster compliance with the requirement of the program is to ensure that all lessees contribute to the Rehabilitation Fund.

4. Ballast Waste Management Program

Is aimed at fostering waste management best practice in ballast maintenance contract cycles and the implementation of waste hierarchy. The focus is on benchmarking the management of ballast waste spoils. The execution is underway and kicked -off with the scientific volumetric surveys on the Coal Line and will proceed to cover the Iron Ore Line and GFB (Natcor & WestCor). In addition, best practice disposal strategies are being investigated for implementation. The ultimate goal is Zero waste discharge.

5. Environmental Sustainability Management Program

Transnet Freight Rail has commissioned a Climate Change Study to respond adequately to the challenges of global warming. The program has been initiated to implement the recommendations of the study and further kicks start with interventions aimed at the reduction of overall resources consumption and improvement of operational efficiency. Alignment with ISO 50001 is being pursuit at all costs.

6. Environmental Assurance

As part of the overall EMS and the need for accelerated compliance specialist environmental studies are concluded aftermath environmental incidences, to quantify impact on the environmental setting to guide rehabilitation processes Annual environmental audits of business infrastructure and operations also continue to identify areas of non-conformance and excellence. Legal contraventions are recorded and responded to appropriately, while rehabilitation of derailment sites is prioritised.