Western Cape makes submission on plans for Port of Cape Town

To further address the challenges affecting operational performance at the Port of Cape Town, we have submitted detailed comments to the Port Consultative Committee following the 7th annual Port of Cape Town Port Performance Roadshow which took place on 3 June 2021. 

The roadshow provided an opportunity for port users to review and provide inputs into port plans, capex plans and port performance which are then taken into consideration by the Ports Regulator of South Africa when setting the port tariffs. 

Central to our submission is the fact that Port of Cape Town users are currently being charged excessive costs that are 146% higher than the global sample average, yet our poor operational performance puts the Port of Cape Town at the bottom of global rankings. This impacts considerably on the global competitiveness of the Port of Cape Town which is a key enabler of the economy in the Western Cape. 

Which is why we welcome the commitment by Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) to seek global operators to invest in port operations and request that this initiative is incorporated into the official planning as a bold step that will ensure competitive and world-class ports in South Africa.

We acknowledge that the last year has been a particularly difficult period for the Port of Cape Town, compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic, however much of this could have been avoided had there been ongoing investment and maintenance of infrastructure over previous years. 

Major underspending of capital by Transnet Port Authority (TNPA) in the last financial year is very concerning, and it is now critical that this is addressed so that the larger capital budgets for the new financial year are spent as quickly as possible to address the current inefficiencies. 

The under-utilisation of the Multi-Purpose Terminal (MPT) remains a concern, where the operational availability of the two old mobile harbour cranes is a considerable constraint. And so, we welcome the recent delivery of five straddle carriers this week which will go a long way to improving the efficiency of container handling on the land side in MPT. 

The Port of Cape Town is an important channel for exports and imports, and a major economic gateway for Cape Town, the Western Cape and South Africa.    

In addition to establishing a Port Task Team to bring together stakeholders from across the port logistics value chain to find solutions to the challenges facing the Port of Cape Town, we have also written to President Cyril Ramaphosa highlighting the current challenges facing the Port of Cape Town and requesting that he schedule an urgent visit to assess the challenges and the measures being put in place to address those challenges in the Port of Cape Town. 

We remain committed to building strong partnerships with all the stakeholders invested in the Port of Cape Town so that we can work together to find solutions to the challenges we face, and we can ensure that the Port of Cape Town reaches its full potential.   

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