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Private-sector participation at Cape Town Port seen generating R6bn in additional exports

1st September 2023

By: Irma Venter

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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The City of Cape Town (CoCT) says it is seeking an urgent meeting with national government on private-sector participation in the Port of Cape Town.

This follows the announcement that the Port of Durban will be partly owned and operated by the Philippines’ International Container Terminal Services – a first for parastatal Transnet.

Cape Town says allowing private-sector participation in the port has the potential to contribute an additional R6-billion in exports, roughly 20 000 direct and indirect jobs, and more than R1.6-billion in additional taxes over five years.

This is according to research presented by the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism.

“The development in Durban is massive, and it really opens the door for some exciting innovations for our own harbour,” says CoCT Economic Growth MMC James Vos.

“Cape Town is now even more determined than before to achieve the same for our port, and I will be calling for an urgent meeting with the Ministers of Public Enterprises and Trade and Industry to discuss this.

“We have willing partners to start working towards private-sector participation in our port. We need to get the economic cluster in a room to talk business. We have no time to waste, given the economic impact of our poorly run port.

“The door has been opened for Durban – now we want the same for Cape Town.”

According to a June presentation by Transnet to the Western Cape standing committee on finance, economic opportunities and tourism, the Cape Town container terminal is underequipped, with only 16 rubber tyre gantries available to move cargo on and off ships.

The optimal number is 39.

Additionally, while, weather has had some role to play, there has been a notable decline in the Port of Cape Town’s performance across several indicators, says the CoCT.

Since the beginning of June, the vessel waiting time at anchor averaged 4.6 days versus the target of one day; vessel turnaround time averaged 8.7 days versus the target of four days; and truck turnaround time averaged 64.5 minutes versus the target of 35 minutes.

“As soon as you get the private sector involved, there is fresh thinking, there are new ideas, and a completely different approach to the way we do business,” says Vos.

“It is always a good thing when the private sector steps up and is willing to become involved in managing key infrastructure.

“For a country that relies on trade and exports, it is essential that goods are moved through the ports as efficiently as possible,” notes Vos.

“Cape Town, at the southern tip, cannot afford to have delays in our harbour, because companies will go to other ports if they experience too many hiccups.”

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

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