SA port charges too high, says expert

2007-11-30 00:00

Ridiculously high port authority charges and massive inefficiencies in comparison to other major global ports are “frightening” and one of the major reasons why South African freight costs are among the highest in the world.

Speaking in Durban on Wednesday, Michel Adriaansens, a Rotterdam-based specialist in world shipping trends with PricewaterhouseCoopers warned that freight costs will have to decrease drastically if South Africa is to stay globally competitive.

He said because of South Africa’s location, sea freight costs are unavoidably high. However, the fact that port authority charges showed up as a major cost factor on graphs while they do not appear even as blips at ports such as Rotterdam, Singapore and Hong Kong, are a huge cause for concern. These costs are also higher than general freight handling costs.

He said land transport costs must be looked at, pointing out that it costs more to get a container from Johannesburg to Durban than it costs to get it from Durban to Rotterdam.

According to data presented by Adriaansens, the total average cost of a 40-foot container from South Africa is about $4 000, while the approximate cost from Rotterdam is around $2 500 and from Singapore under $2 000.

While the port of Durban shares many of world ports’ major problems — namely increased traffic, port congestion, insufficient capacity and pressure to improve turnaround times — it also has a number of unique challenges.

These include the city’s encroachment on port development, increasing road traffic congestion, transport connectivity to the port, changing vessel profiles and obsolete rail infrastructure.

PMB man gets top SAcci job

The SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci — formerly Sacob) announced this week at its General Council that Professor Alwyn Louw has been elected as the SACCI’s new President, with Pietermaritzburg businessman and well-known leader Babu Baijoo having been elected as the Deputy President.

Baijoo is a businessman with longstanding experience of leadership in the chamber movement both within the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business (PCB) and the national chamber movement.

Louw is a UNISA based Professor involved in the Executive Management of the institution.

The two positions of Vice President were filled by Mr Themba Ngcobo, a Durban based businessman and President of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), as well as Chose Choeu of Microsoft.

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