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Published: 8 May 2012      

Transnet looks to wider Africa

TPT Acting CEO, Logan Naidoo
South African port operator Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) is looking to take advantage of the growth potential in Africa by forming partnerships with other African ports and promoting South Africa as a regional hub for the rest of the continent.

TPT Acting CEO, Logan Naidoo, said the state-owned port operator had previous experience outside South Africa, which could help to position African ports as the growth engines of their respective economies.

This is in support of nine strategic transport sector objectives set out by the African Union and NEPAD (New Partnership for African Growth), which are focused on enhanced efficiency of transport infrastructure, services and key transport corridors to strengthen the economic and social development of the African continent.

Key intra-continental initiatives being pursued by TPT include offering port terminal operations, consulting, training, equipment maintenance and IT systems to other African ports as well as regional port planning and port pairing initiatives.

“South Africa, as the most developed country in Africa, offers the infrastructure and services to unlock the region's frontiers,” Naidoo said. “By facilitating the supply of goods and providing essential infrastructural services, TPT can play a vital role in the South African government’s new growth path strategy, which seeks to widen the market for South African goods and services through a stronger focus on exports to the region’s rapidly growing economies.”

Naidoo said TPT’s past experience outside of South Africa included assistance with terminal operating systems, port consulting and training programmes in ports in Namibia, Kenya, Cameroon and Mauritius.

The former Portcon International consultancy arm of sister division Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA) also carried out work in Ghana between 2001 and 2004.

A regional port planning strategy between South Africa’s deepwater Port of Ngqura and other ports in the region is already underway to leverage opportunities. South African President Jacob Zuma is a champion of the North South Corridor and Transnet is playing a key role in ensuring that this corridor’s potential is unlocked so that freight can move easily and efficiently, Naidoo said.

TPT has also attracted the attention of African ports thanks to the port operations training programmes and facilities offered at the Transnet School of Ports, located in the Port of Durban, where TNPA also offers highly sought-after marine training.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that over the next five years Africa will surpass Asia and seven African nations will be in the top 10 fastest-growing economies.

The IMF also forecasts 2012 growth figures averaging around 6% for sub-Saharan Africa - and with countries like Angola recording gross domestic product (GDP) growth of almost double that, the continent is touted as the investment destination of the decade.

International terminal operators are moving into Africa’s ports with great speed and developments over the next three years in Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania will see a total of more than US$689M spent on port upgrades, TPT said.

Naidoo believes Transnet and TPT boast the economies of scale to position themselves as regional freight operators in other African countries and to remove barriers that negatively impact trade transiting through the SADC region.

“South Africa has an invaluable role to play as neighbouring countries - and outside agencies - up their game on infrastructure development in their connecting corridors,” he said.

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