Grindrod's rail team in Sierra Leone achieved target

Grindrod's rail team in Sierra Leone achieved target

April 20, 2021

As reported a few weeks ago, five of Grindrod’s locomotives stationed in Freetown Sierra Leone were deployed to haul Iron Ore from Tonkolili Mine to Pepel Port. The 3-month long contract was to rail 200,000 tons of Iron Ore from the mine to Pepel Port. Last week, the Grindrod team of 11 expatriates and 20 local staff in Sierra Leonne celebrated the achievement of the milestone 2 weeks ahead of schedule.

Norman Van Wyk, Operations Manager, Grindrod Rail Sierra Leone provided some insight into their success.

What lessons did you learn from this project and what contributed to the success of the project? 

The right attitude and the experience and knowledge of the team were huge contributing factors. The team was 100% informed on what the requirements were and they made it their own targets.

The success of this project was determined by the team we have on-site. Some had worked in Sierra Leone since 2012. Their knowledge about the overall operations from servicing and maintaining the locomotives to running the trains - from Pepel to Tonkolili where the train is loaded and back to Pepel where the train is offloaded.

Other factors included:

-              Strong discipline in the team and cooperation between the maintenance and operations team.  

-              A good relationship with our Customer Kingho and daily interaction with the Kingho operation teams.

What challenges did you face?

Our biggest challenge was to get the locomotives operational after standing since 2017. We had  14 days after the arrival of the spares from South Africa.

Joseph Kamara Sierra Leone, Tradehand:  “ We now feel so important to see our trains running again.