South African state company Transnet has formed a partnership with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research which will enable the two organisations to identify areas of cooperation through the CSIR's technological and research capacity.
Transnet will spend over R1-billion on research and development over the next seven years in terms of the agreement, which was signed in Johannesburg on Monday.
It extends to all of Transnet's operations in port, rail and pipeline, as well as ownership and rights such as intellectual property, which will be agreed on on a project basis.
"For Transnet to play its rightful role in the economy, we have to grow, invest and modernise at an unprecedented rate," Transnet Group chief executive officer, Brian Molefe, said in a statement.
"Therefore we need to constantly explore innovations and technological advancements.
"We have that in abundance at the CSIR, an institution that has developed the expertise over the last couple of decades," he said.
'Comprehensive research, development support'
The agreement comes as Transnet is about to enter the second year of its seven- year R300-billion market demand strategy, which aims to improve the company's capital investment programme, operational efficiencies and safety levels.
"This partnership is an excellent opportunity for the CSIR to provide comprehensive research and development support to a pivotal state-owned company such as Transnet," said CSIR chief executive officer, Sibusiso Sibisi.
"Supporting industry is in keeping with our mandate. We are excited to be part of a series of projects that, apart from benefiting the sophistication and modernisation of Transnet's operations, will assist in job creation and growing South Africa's economy."
The two companies have already started working on infrastructure, which includes rail, port and coastal engineering, roads and buildings; rolling stock such as energy efficiency and regeneration and alternative fuels; strategic decision support for enterprise engineering and environmental management systems; and operations such as water use, climate change and safety and security.
The CSIR has also assisted Transnet on several projects in the past, including monitoring water quality and marine life in all of its ports and monitoring waste water in the Durban-to-Johannesburg fuel pipeline.
"The CSIR's expertise will be relevant and appropriate in various areas of our operations," Molefe said.
"With this agreement, we have given ourselves access, not only to decades of the knowledge we need, but to a body of specialised skills that the CSIR has at its disposal."