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South Africa’s Crumbling Railways Are Becoming a Threat to Global Supply Chains

Traffic on South Africa’s main railway line that connects the country’s urban hubs of Johannesburg and Pretoria with Africa’s largest port in Durban operated at just 25% capacity last week — hobbled by rampant theft, vandalism and damage.

The 688-kilometer rail line is one of the world’s most important arteries in the global supply chain as it transports millions of tons of raw materials from across southern Africa to the Port of Durban for shipment to China and other major industrial centers.

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What is The China-Global South Project?


The China-Global South Project is passionately independent, non-partisan and does not advocate for any country, company or culture.


A carefully curated selection of the day’s most important China-Global South stories. Updated 24 hours a day by human editors. No bots, no algorithms.


Diverse, often unconventional insights from scholars, analysts, journalists and a variety of stakeholders in the China-Global South discourse.


A unique professional network of China-Africa scholars, analysts, journalists and other practioners from around the world.