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News & Press: SAPICS Conference 2018

Partnerships are key to road and rail success

Sunday, 22 July 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Debbie van Rensburg
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PARTNERSHIPS ARE KEY TO ROAD TO RAIL SUCCESS

 

Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) recognises the increasingly critical need for a predictable rail service that will support and enhance its drive to build successful partnerships with industry and third-party logistics service providers (3PLs).

 

This was the message from Transnet’s chief customer officer Mike Fanucchi in a presentation at the recent SAPICS Conference. He acknowledged that trust and predictability were the big issues to be overcome but stressed that TFR has prioritised collaboration and partnerships with 3PLs in order to drive supply chain costs down and enable economic growth.

 

Fanucchi said that driving road to rail is his goal at the state-owned company and noted that while there was work to be done, there was also much to be positive about.

He reported that in the last year, TFR has succeeded in taking 147 071 trips off the road, over a distance of 176 million kilometres. The benefits include lower costs and reduced carbon emissions. “We went just beyond the sun by rail,” he quipped, and stressed that the objective for next year is to go to the sun and back.

 

Fanucchi cited several TFR projects that show collaboration, partnering and capacity creation at work. These include the Maputo Corridor supply chain solution; projects to bridge the capacity for manganese offloading at the Port of Saldanha; a logistics solution for finished steel products on rail; a return of maize from road to rail; and a cold chain solution for fruit exports.

 

Partnerships that are being explored include working with leading 3PLs and forwarders to unlock opportunities in the FMCG market. Manufacturing represented opportunities with small tonnage compared to bulk commodities but big value, he stated, but noted that predictability of service needed to be addressed. “We can manage inventory and the supply chain together if the trains are predictable. We have to earn your trust,” he told delegates at the 2018 SAPICS Conference for supply chain professionals.

 

Fanucchi said that TFR’s model to increase container volumes is through partnerships with 3PLS. Running parcels by rail, like UPS, Amazon and JB Hunt do in the USA, is also being explored.

 

To build on successes, grow business opportunities and encourage private sector participation, TFR has actively refreshed its approach, he revealed. An increased focus on customer centricity forms part of this undertaking.  “Customers have been placed at the centre of our business, and Transnet is moving from the disconnected customer relationship management practices of the past to a seamless process in which one key account manager provides the link between the customer and multiple Transnet business functions.”

 

Hosted by SAPICS, The Professional Body for Supply Chain Management, the annual SAPICS Conference is Africa’s leading event for supply chain professionals. This year’s 40th annual conference in Cape Town was a milestone event that saw more than 800 delegates converge to share knowledge and network.