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Africa|Construction|Infrastructure|Road|SECURITY|Service|System|Technology|transport|Infrastructure|Cables
Africa|Construction|Infrastructure|Road|SECURITY|Service|System|Technology|transport|Infrastructure|Cables
africa|construction|infrastructure|road|security|service|system|technology|transport|infrastructure|cables

South Africa needs to upgrade its air cargo and related infrastructures

20th March 2024

By: Rebecca Campbell

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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South Africa is beginning to fall behind other African countries, when it comes to being a centre for air cargo, Swissport South Africa CEO Khangi Khoza has warned. She was delivering a keynote address at the Wesgro Western Cape Air Cargo Conference 2024, in Cape Town.

Already, Johannesburg has lost its place as the number one air cargo hub in Africa. First place is now held by Nairobi. And Addis Ababa and Lagos were not far behind Johannesburg.  

Within South Africa, Johannesburg remained the number one air cargo hub, but that might not remain the case for much longer. “Cape Town is hot on the heels of Johannesburg, in taking up market share,” she pointed out.

Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement would cause African air cargo volumes to almost double by 2030, she noted. South Africa could be expected to benefit from this increased intra-African trade. But this would require the upgrading of the country’s air cargo infrastructure.

Regarding technology, South Africa still has a long way to go. The country is still dependent on undersea cables for telecommunications, which were, as recent events have shown, vulnerable to disruption. But the Starlink satellite-based system, for example, can not be used in South Africa.

Further, the future of air cargo was digital, she affirmed. This would make air cargo processing much easier and more efficient (among other things, it would allow the identification of ‘blackspots’ in the air cargo process).

The top three priorities for the development of the sector in South Africa and Africa in general are the further development of temperature-controlled facilities, the assurance of security for valuable goods, and the construction of modern and efficient facilities.

(Two major air cargo growth areas, she pointed out, were e-commerce and pharmaceuticals. Both would be important in Africa and both required specialised facilities.)

The fourth priority is the creation of ‘partnerships for development’. These will include making the investments required to create the facilities with the necessary capacity and quality; close collaboration with airports; and the development and retention of specialist expertise, which could include the recruitment of specialists from overseas.

Moreover, South Africa imported more than it exported, she highlighted. Carriers flying cargo into the country naturally wanted to fly other cargo out. This meant that South African air cargo facilities had to be flexible.

There was very little domestic air cargo traffic in South Africa, pointed out Khoza. This was because air cargo service providers did not guarantee overnight delivery. As a result, it was more cost-effective for shippers to use road transport.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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