South Africa: port crisis leads to millions of dollars in losses
Par Ibrahima DIALLO
26 November 2023 / 14:37

The South African government is being called on to take urgent action to remedy the port congestion crisis, which is causing losses estimated in the millions of dollars, South African business federations have said.

The situation is worrying, as more than 96 ships are still waiting outside commercial ports", said the President of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Palesa Phili, noting that this situation has been causing a direct daily cost of more than $5 million (nearly R100 million) for several months.

She added that the poor performance of the state-owned logistics company Transnet, which manages the country's port and rail infrastructure, was hampering the movement of almost $400 million (R7 billion) worth of goods every day.

"Since the beginning of the year, the Chamber has noted an exponential increase in late hours, rising from 39 in January, to 96 in July, then to 364 in September," she lamented, pointing out that this situation is unacceptable, as companies are obliged to pay the costs of these delays.

For its part, the South African Freight Forwarders Association (SAAFF) pointed out that South Africa's commercial ports and logistics network are going through an unprecedented crisis, which is hitting the country's economy hard.

In the same vein, Andrew Bahlmann, CEO of consulting firm Corporate & Advisory, warned that Transnet is now the biggest threat to the growth of the South African economy.

He added that delays in the delivery of imported goods could trigger a shortage of essential products, leading to higher inflation and higher prices.

For several years, Transnet has been in the grip of a crisis characterized by poor management and deteriorating rail and port infrastructures. According to government figures, the state-owned company is also crumbling under the weight of a $7 billion (over 130 billion rand) debt.

Le360 Afrique (avec MAP)

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