The head of South Africa’s State-owned transport company Transnet on Tuesday called for greater integration, deregulation and investment into Africa’s port capacity, to reduce costs and increase turnaround times.
Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama told the African Terminal Operators’ Conference in Durban that ports on the continent suffered from years of under-investment and were therefore underdeveloped compared with others around the world.
“With such a high dependence on external trade, productive and efficient ports are critical for Africa’s growth,” he said.
“All of us have a vested interested in ensuring that our countries optimize freight efficiency and bring products to market faster across the continent and for less cost.”
Gama said Africa’s prospects for greater regional trade were highlighted by a consumer market of nearly one billion people, a rising number of affluent consumers and the increasing mobility of investment capital.
“The flip side of this however, is that over the past few decades, the sub-Saharan Africa container market has been challenged by slow development of quality infrastructure – which has led to long waiting times,” he said, adding that other barriers were both political and institutional in nature.