Business Events Africa

The future of the heavy haul industry, a crucial cog in the global logistics chain, remains on shaky ground in light of adverse global market conditions that continue to threaten the profitability and sustainability of heavy rail operators around the globe.

This challenge will be the central focus for more than 1 000 heavy haul rail executives, professionals and engineers, who are expected to descend on Cape Town in September for the 11th International Heavy Haul Association (IHHA) Conference. The five-day event will also cover a host of technical topics, including insights and updates on heavy haul developments, rail expansion plans and global technological advancements.

The event will include representatives from the US, Australia, India, Russia, China, Brazil, Canada, Sweden, Norway, and African countries. During the conference, a keynote speaker from the World Economic forum will cover the next industrial / technological revolution on railways.

According to Transnet Executive, Brian Monakali, who is also the Deputy Chairman of the International Heavy Haul Association and Chairman of the South African Heavy Haul Association, South Africa is extremely proud to be associated with such a well-established and recognised industry body. “The conference theme ‘Advancing Heavy Haul Technologies and Operations in a Changing World’ is highly appropriate given the state of the market and the role that innovation can play in addressing the issues that plague this sector.”

Monakali says the conference will share global expertise on how to improve efficiencies, safety and the viability of the industry. “The enlightening discussions, plenaries and workshops will focus on fact-finding and shifts to drive the industry forward.”

As a build-up to the IHHA Conference, a two-day technical workshop from 2 – 3 September 2017 will present engineers and professionals with valuable insights into developments and groundwork on technical aspects that can be applied to improve rail operators’ efficiencies.

Internationally-recognised technical experts at this pre-conference event will discuss the fundamentals on areas such as vehicle-track interaction, track geometry, rail life management and maintenance, and the importance of well-maintained rolling stock.  An overview of bridges and structures for heavy haul will also be shared.

The content of this technical workshop will be based on the IHHA’s book “Guidelines to best practices for Heavy Haul Railway operations: Infrastructure Construction and Maintenance Issues”.

The main conference, scheduled to take place from 4 – 6 September 2017 at the prestigious Cape Town International Conference Centre, comprises daily plenary sessions and five parallel streams focussing on themes such as vehicle track systems, track, bridges & tunnels, operations, rolling stock and motive power, traction and energy efficiency.

“We are confident that the papers and presentations will provide industry executives and professionals with key insights needed to ensure that their operations are able to flourish despite the pressure of slower economic growth around the globe,” says Monakali.

Africa’s leading Freight logistics provider, Transnet, is a founding member both the International Heavy Haul Association and the South African Heavy Haul Association, and a platinum sponsor for this conference.

Post conference, Transnet will host a technical tour to their Saldanha port facilities and their world class Iron Ore Heavy Haul line – the largest on the African West Coast. Delegates will be able to walk about the port, visit the manganese and iron ore handling facilities, tippler operations and the iron ore line operating centre as well as drive along a section of iron ore line up to Elands Bay.

“We look forward to welcoming the industry’s leading players, as well as young professionals making their mark in the Heavy Haul Railway sector,” says Monakali.

The early bird cut-off date for conference registration is 30 June 2017. Details on the conference programme, conference packages and accommodation can be found on the IHHA Conference website:

The conference organiser, ILIOS Conferences can be reached on Tel: +27 21 836 8315, Fax: +27 86 565 8914 or


About the IHHA Conference 2017:

The 11th International Heavy Haul Association (IHHA) Conference will be held in Cape Town, South Africa from 2-6 September 2017. The theme for the conference is “Advancing Heavy Haul Technologies and Operations in a Changing World”. Organised under the auspices of the International Heavy Haul Association (IHHA), this event is being hosted by the South African Heavy Haul Association, and the country’s leading freight logistics provider, Transnet as an anchor sponsor. More than 1 000 international and local delegates are expected to attend the conference that includes daily plenary and parallel streams, as well as a two-day technical workshop prior to the main conference.

For more information on the conference, go to The conference organiser, ILIOS Conferences can be reached on Tel: +27 21 836 8315, Fax: +27 86 565 8914 or