South Africa’s ports need private investment to break inefficiency logjam

Improving South Africa’s ports, which rank among the most inefficient in the world, will need greater private-sector investment, executives and investors say.

Poor performance of South Africa’s ports has had extensive economic impacts across the country. Cape Town’s port ranks the lowest on the continent. Years of underinvestment have weakened efficiency significantly.

However, evaluation has led to action. Separation of the ports authority from the terminal operators should prove a crucial step, while private sector participation will address some of the funding challenges preventing investment into needed infrastructure, including road and rail services carrying good to and from the hinterland, as AIIM investment director Ed Stumpf explains.

AIIM joint-MD Vuyo Ntoi also outlined the economic benefits investment in this infrastructure will have, noting that a doubling the efficiency of a port equates to halving the distance between key trading partners and a 10% fall in the cost of transport could increase trade by close to a quarter.

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