South Africa will reinvigorate port system, says President Ramaphosa

South Africa’s National Ports Authority (NPA) will operate as a standalone business under the oversight of state-owned freight logistics group Transnet, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on June 22nd.

A report last month from the World Bank and IHS Markit ranking container ports put South Africa’s major ports near the bottom of the list. Durban came in at 349th out of a total of 351 ports assessed globally.

The Container Port Performance Index considered the total port hours per ship call, defined as the time it takes for a ship to unload its cargo when it docks and then departs.

Japan’s Yokohama and other ports at the top of the list take an average of 1.1 minutes to load or unload a container during a normal port call, while African ports average 3.6 minutes, according to the index.

Ramaphosa said after visiting Cape Town port that “the weak performance of our ports is the result of structural challenges in our logistics system and operational inefficiency”. Cape Town port is the second-largest container port by volume after Durban.

Ramaphosa is pushing a business-friendly agenda Ramaphosa, hoping to kick-start South Africa’s struggling economy. He said on Tuesday that having an independent NPA as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Transnet, with its own board, would mean that revenue generated by South African ports could be invested in port infrastructure and upgrading facilities.