Western Cape member of the executive council (MEC) for economic affairs David Maynier on Monday said he has established a task team to solve ongoing congestion in the Cape Town port.
"We are concerned by the significant issues at the Port of Cape Town particularly with regards to congestion at the container terminal. These issues are impacting on the costs and efficiencies of the logistics and export industries, and are impeding economic growth and job creation in the Western Cape," Maynier said.
He said a meeting was held with all stakeholders, including exporters and importers, trucking companies, Transnet, the South African Revenue Service and representatives of shipping lines.
The meeting reflected on the root causes of the delays at the port, among them institutional matters, port capacity, and the traffic flow of trucks carrying containers into and out of the port.
Maynier said a more efficient port was crucial as exports were key in creating jobs and economic growth in the province.
"Growing exports, primarily through trade promotion and the removal of obstacles to exports, is a critical lever in our strategy to grow the economy and create jobs in the Western Cape. We are working hard to become the most competitive region in Africa, and to do that we need the most competitive port."
Maynier said everybody agreed that the situation needed to be resolved urgently and he, therefore, appointed a task team with the brief that it report to him every two weeks and to implement the first remedial steps within three months.
The team comprises of ten members, drawn from all areas of the ports logistics chain.
Maynier said one of the problems was a shortage of cranes. The global standard is three to five cranes per ship to load containers but in Cape Town, the figure was an average 2.5 cranes.
"The impact is an additional delay of at least three days in port per ship. With 510 vessels calling at the Cape Town container terminal in the past year, this implies a total loss of 1 530 ship days per year due to congestion."
He said another stakeholder group meeting would be convened next year to give feedback on the progress of the task team and to expand the problem-solving efforts beyond the container terminal in the port.