New Gauteng tolling: still a lot of questions

2010-12-04 12:34

Business owners and logistics operators are still in the dark about the consequences of the proposed toll system in and around Gauteng and Pretoria, but the general consensus is that it will have a significant effect on how businesses ­operate.

Unofficially some operators are estimating this could add as much as 70c/km driven, but in reality they just don’t know.

The South African National Roads Agency Limited had indicated as early as 2007 that the new toll systems would add another 50c/km to motorists but the agency was still in the process of finalising tariffs.

Tony Adams, the national operations manager at transport and logistics operator Super Group, said they were still researching the effect that the tolling would have on their operations and wouldn’t commit to a figure but described it as “a big cost factor” that they were grappling with which could hit them hard, particularly on the Johannesburg-Pretoria routes.

Ian Lourens chief executive of JSE-listed logistics group Onelogix was reluctant to discuss the issue saying that there was still a lot of uncertainty around how the system would be implemented and pointing out that tolling could be charged at different rates. There was also the possibility of discounts for volume operators.

Marcel Klaassen, head of sales for small business at FNB Commercial said: “General economics would suggest that anything that makes service delivery more expensive or impractical is considered a hindrance to small-business growth.”

Klaassen pointed out that this could have a significant effect on the way goods are moved around Gauteng.

This included the costs being transferred on to the consumer as small businesses strived to ward off margin erosion and a potential decrease in service levels with businesses either eliminating free delivery or implementing longer delivery lead times.

He added that this could also see businesses taking a closer look at shared transport and shipping as well as outsourcing of the services.

Chris Delport, regional general manager for small business funder GroFin’s operations in South Africa, said: “Of course such a toll road will have a negative effect on business. It increases the cost of transport, thus the overheads of a business, which means the price of your commodity has to increase accordingly. This will result in the client paying more for the same product or service and could potentially have a negative effect on the business becoming uncompetitive.”

In short, you need to start considering how to do your transportation smartly and economically from next year.

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