Over the past few months, it has been doom and gloom for our South African ports, with strikes and delay upon delay. Carte Blanche also recently reported on the situation on their show on Sunday 20th October. To add fuel to the fire, the infrastructure at our ports also poses its own challenges which, if not addressed, could lead to the country not being able to have the export-led growth in the agricultural sector that it so desires.
The agriculture industry seems to be the industry that is feeling the effects most. These terminals of our ports are not well-functioning, more so than the other terminals. Continued labor disputes and strikes over promotions and pay also add to the issues faced at ports, adding to the delays and making it difficult for importers and exporters to get their merchandise where it needs to be, when it needs to be there.
The growth in exports is positive with South Africa’s agricultural exports reaching a record of US$10.6 billion in 2018, however, without the ports being upgraded and well-maintained and adequate skilled employees being at work, they will not be able to support the growth in exports. With the increase in delays at ports, also come increases in demurrage and detention costs that businesses are liable for, eating into their profits.
While we may not be able to improve port facilities and infrastructure, or stop the strikes that happen, TSI’s technology and expertise can manage your importing and exporting effectively, minimizing costs, getting your goods to their destinations on time and managing your demurrage and detention for free. Our close relationship with the ports and self-developed technology can be a game-changer for your business in a challenging time for importing and exporting.
In order for South Africa to compete internationally when it comes to exports, things at our ports need to change, and fast. With more investment into the maintenance and development of our ports to upgrade them and add necessary facilities, and staffing issues resolved, we can work towards decreasing delays and improving our shipping. Not only will this benefit the agriculture sector, but all other importing and exporting sectors of the economy will reap the benefits.