Road freight’s call to end ‘useless’ SOE control of vital logistics like ports - Gavin Kelly

South African ports have been grappling with high levels of congestion and long queues of trucks waiting to enter the ports, which has now reached crisis proportions. To deal with the congestion in Richards Bay, Transnet has suspended processing trucks carrying coal. In Durban harbour, more than 70,000 containers are anchored off the coast of Durban with a three-week waiting period for offloading. This backlog, Transnet says, would likely only be cleared by February or March 2024. The state-owned enterprise said in a statement released earlier this week that it was implementing “a number of urgent interventions to address the backlogs at the Port of Durban and to ease the congestion at Richards Bay to minimise the impact on the South African economy” However, trust in South African ports has already suffered a blow been with Maersk, the global shipping giant, deciding that it will ditch Cape Town as a port of call in favour of Mauritius. In an interview with Biznews, Gavin Kelly, CEO of the Road Freight Association in South Africa said the issues at harbours have been coming for several years. Warnings have come from various industries, including mining for the past five to six years, signalling the impending collapse of core export corridors. He criticised Transnet for not foreseeing the disaster and 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 sort of crucial logistical nodal points and infrastructure points,” he said. These key points should be given to the private sector to run.
21 Nov 2023 12PM English South Africa Investing · Business News

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