A Moving Story ~ The Southern Cape Corridor

Two genuine questions:

  • If nuclear fission can power submarines and aircraft carriers, why can’t it be used in locomotives?

  • Has hybrid diesel-electric technology, as used in motorcars, been applied to locomotives?

Logistics is about the collection, storage and delivery of goods in the most efficient and safe way possible.  It’s really as simple and as complicated as that.  The Southern Cape has many hundreds of kilometres of perfectly good railway tracks lying rusting in our coastal air and rain.  Railway stations, sidings, shunting yards, signal posts and offices, worth millions of our ZARs, stand empty and vandalised, used for all purposes other than those for which they were built and paid for by taxpayers money.  We seem to accept this egregious waste, justifying our bad attitudes by saying that rail is ‘olde school’, ‘low tech’, ‘environmentally unfriendly’ and such nonsense.

(Aside:  For ‘hardcore’ evidence of the superiority (efficiency) of rail transport over road, visit these two sites:



Our S.C.C. must first work successfully as a regional, then as a provincial economic corridor, before we focus on trade with India, China and south-east Asia.  This is both the sensible enterprise approach as well as being financially more responsible than an all-out initial focus on international trade.  A pragmatic suggestion is to build the capacity, experience, efficiencies and skills of our corridor logistics by first getting trade going between the towns IN the corridor area, and then expanding trade to towns within the greater Western Cape and Eastern Cape.

An analysis of failed supply-chain and logistics projects offers further ‘proof’ of why the enterprise approach, driven by experienced business people, is THE ONLY way to go with the conceptualising and roll-out of our S.C.C.  Here are the top four reasons for failure:

  • poor quality of relationships within the logistics chain,
  • a miscalculation / underestimating of the volume of detail (complexity) in the processes,
  • the incorrect assumption that the supply chain is the same as the value chain, and
  • attempting to satisfy the demands of production processes that are too lengthy/complex.

From the above, it must be clear that politicians, community activists or consultants would typically have little or no insight into the critical operational issues that underpin the above-mentioned reasons for failed logistics and supply-chain projects.  We can now guard against these.

In terms of the logistics component, our S.C.C. has at least five vital advantages:

  • the quality of our N2 and the extent of the connecting roads networks,
  • the compactness/density of the Southern Cape as a proposed corridor development,
  • an airport AND a harbour within 65kms of each other,
  • a rail network that can be revitalised,
  • relative safety and security, and
  • sufficient development land to expand the logistics infrastructure.

Who says there’s no work to be done?

Pj momsen



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