Multimodal Inland Port Association launched

27th May 2024 By: Tasneem Bulbulia - Senior Contributing Editor Online

The Multimodal Inland Port Association (MIPA), which seeks to address a critical need in South Africa’s logistics landscape, was launched in South Africa last week.

The association aims to act as the unified voice for inland ports across the nation, focusing on promoting, supporting, and advocating for the increased movement of cargo from road to rail.

“Transporting more cargo by rail has become an imperative, considering the growing cost of logistics in South Africa. It is no longer just a nice-to-have,” says MIPA chairperson Warwick Lord.

The MIPA aims to reform the rail industry through private investment, foster trade activities that meet social objectives and facilitate the transfer of goods from road to rail.

By optimising industrial and logistics activities through efficient multimodalism, logistics costs will be reduced, and efficiency will be improved, MIPA posits.

Formed by entities in the transportation sector, including the Cato Ridge Inland Port, Tambo Springs Development Company, Portfutures, Autoforce, Mac Group, Cape Town Inland Port, the Cape Winelands Airport, the Musina Intermodal Terminal, RailRunner South Africa, and RailRunner Services, the association says it is committed to collaborating on best practices, particularly in through private-sector participation (PSP).

It will work closely with government and State-owned enterprises.

“We aim to create one voice for inland ports, driving workable multimodal solutions that deliver efficiency, cost reduction, and much-needed resilience to the South African supply chain. By doing so, we can mitigate the impact of external shocks and ensure stability in the logistics sector,” says Lord.

MIPA’s strategy to drive more cargo from road to rail includes using multi-nodal technology and improving collaboration with other freight hubs and stakeholders, to optimise each supply chain link from a cost and efficiency perspective.

“Inland ports increase accessibility through long-distance transport corridors, leading to lower distribution costs and improved capacity by consolidating freight volumes.

“These multi-modal terminals can handle large amounts of cargo continuously, allowing sea ports to extend their cargo base, which is crucial given the increasing size of vessels,” Lord explains.

Moreover, inland ports can provide considerable dedicated logistics developments, proximity to rail and highways, ample truck parking and less traffic congestion.

Lord says the MIPA is dedicated to facilitating free trade and promoting sustainable practices.

The association will support its members in complying with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Southern African Development Community Vision 2050.