07 September 2017
Port upgrades pose new business opportunities for SA
Ports authorities are calling for Africa’s ports and harbours to be upgraded in order to meet post-neo-panamax shipping requirements.
According to ATKearney, the expansion of the Panama Canal, which has been years in the making, reflects a new reality of global trade, with larger ships carrying more and more goods to faraway markets.
On the website’s Ideas and Insights page, it reads: “The project, which costs approximately US$5.3 billion, almost triples the size of the ships able to transit between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans from 5,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of container capacity to 14,000 TEUs. This increases the percentage of the global tanker fleet capable of squeezing through the canal from just 5 percent to 80 percent – a huge boon to the canal’s utilisation and the Panamanian government. Ships capable of passing through this expanded artery are being referred to as New Panamax or Neo-Panamax.”
Transnet group CEO Siyabonga Gama said the parastatal has acknowledged the importance of local infrastructure development, as well as the importance of intra-African trade and development.
He continued to say that Transnet was now at the point where it was diversifying from its South African base to expand operations into other African countries.
According to several studies and reports of Africa’s ports, authorities throughout the continent are actively seeking solutions to enhance intra-African trade, reduce port congestion, and increase port connectivity. This is in an effort to accommodate the next generation of ships being developed around the world in the wake of the latest Panama Canal upgrade and expansion.
While US$27.5 billion is being invested to develop 10 key transport corridors within the sub-Saharan region, including major port expansion projects currently underway in more than 10 African countries, the continent still has an enormous infrastructure shortfall. However, the 6thannual African Ports Evolution Forum taking place in Durban in October aims to address some of these challenges.
The conference will bring together ports authorities, investors and government representatives from more than 29 countries to address new business opportunities and infrastructure development plans within the sector.