12th January 2024
By: Irma Venter
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

The City of Cape Town says it wants a “clear deadline” from Transnet and national government on private sector involvement in the Port of Cape Town.

With a private sector partner set to start operations at the Port of Durban in April, Cape Town Economic Growth MMC James Vos notes that “there is continued silence from national government on a timeline for a sorely-needed private sector partner boost for Cape Town”.

“Amid ongoing reports of extreme inefficiencies at the Port of Cape Town, the city calls for a clear deadline on introducing a private sector partner here, as will be the case at the Durban port.

“The urgency of reform is underscored by a major shipping company recently announcing plans to bypass Cape Town’s port in certain respects.

“We are still awaiting the publication of the Freight Logistics Roadmap, which is being kept under wraps by national government, despite our repeated requests for transparency from Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan,” adds Vos.

“The city will continue to actively mobilise stakeholders, including the private sector, to pressure government into clear timeframes and deadlines for a private partner for the Port of Cape Town.”

Vos says the World Bank’s recent disappointing global ranking of the Cape Town port “underscores a pressing concern for our trade capability”.

“This should be a stark wake-up call for national government to take urgent and decisive action to ensure a thriving trade environment for our city.”

According to the World Bank’s container port performance index 2022, Cape Town ranked 344 out of the 348 ports surveyed.

Research presented by the Western Cape’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism shows that private sector participation at the Cape Town harbour has the potential to contribute an additional R6-billion in exports, roughly 20 000 direct and indirect jobs, as well as more than R1.6-billion in additional taxes over a five-year period.

“While we welcome the proactive steps taken by Port of Cape Town manager Rajesh Dana to address the persistent technical challenges hampering port deliveries, we will only properly solve these inefficiencies when the private sector has a direct stake in managing port operations,” notes Vos.

“This monumental task necessitates collaboration and interdependence, tapping into the expertise, knowledge, strategies and innovation of various stakeholders.

“Logistical obstacles at the port cast a ripple effect on the city’s overall economy, and require urgency from the State.”

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter