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Road Freight’s call to end ‘useless’ SOEs control of vital logistics like ports

Neelam Rahim |

3-minute read
01 December 2023 | 20:57 CAT

Image: BizNews

South African ports have been grappling with high congestion levels and long queues of trucks waiting to enter the ports, which has now reached crisis proportions.

According to the SA Association of Freight Forwarders, 96 vessels waiting at anchorage outside our commercial ports, which cost the economy a staggering R98 million a day in direct, sunken costs, at least R26 million a day of indirect expenses and R7 billion worth of goods from moving every day.

The representative organisation of the Road Freight Association (RFA) emphasises that the deterioration of South Africa’s ports and rail has been a slow, continued process over at least ten years. The management of State-owned entity (SOE) Transnet and its subsidiaries have been fully aware of the challenges and continuously informed of these by both structures within their respective organisations and the private sector.

“Nothing was done to counter this – neither to reverse, nor hold the decline. The executives, management and Ministers who have ‘led’ public enterprises (State assets and the management thereof) and the various subsidiaries of Transnet, are the ones to blame,” RFA CEO Gavin Kelly posits.

Kelly stressed that South Africa, currently home to the largest port in Africa in Durban, risks losing this status.

Kelly said a couple of years ago, exporters used to laugh at Dar-es-Salaam, where it took 21 days to clear a container out of the port; it is now down to seven days. South Africa is going in the opposite direction.

“We can no longer let state-owned entities that have proven to be absolutely useless to run these sorts of crucial logistical nodal points and infrastructure points,” he said.

“A long road lies ahead of South Africa in terms of bringing ports and rail infrastructure back to a position of efficiency. We need the private sector to drive and control the nursing back to life of our vital supply chain infrastructure and nodal points,” he says.

Listen to the full interview on The Daily Round-Up with Moulana Junaid Kharsany.



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