South Africa

South Africa has the worst port in the world

The World Bank and S&P Global Market Intelligence’s Container Port Performance Index (CPPI) revealed that the Port of Cape Town is the worst in the world.

The fourth edition of CPPI is based on the biggest dataset ever, including 182,000 vessel calls, 238.2 million moves, and 381 million twenty-foot equivalents (TEUs).

The CPPI ranks 405 global container ports by efficiency, focusing on the duration of port stay for container vessels.

It aims to identify areas for enhancement that benefit multiple stakeholders in the global trading system and supply chains, from ports to shipping lines, national governments, and consumers.

More than 80% of merchandise trade is transported by sea, so ports’ resilience, efficiency, and overall performance are crucial to global markets and economic development.

Looking at the top-performing ports, China’s Yangshan Port earned the top spot for the second consecutive year, while Oman’s Port of Salalah retained the number two position.

The port of Cartagena in Colombia ascended to third place. Tanger-Mediterranean of Morocco held steady in fourth, and Tanjung Pelepas Port in Malaysia rounded out the top five.

South Africa’s ports were all at the bottom of the table. Cape Town was the worst, while Durban, the nation’s biggest terminal, was the eighth worst.

The City of Cape Town urged the Port of Cape Town to improve, even as South Africa’s state-run logistics firm took steps to improve performance.

Transnet is trying to bring in private operators and upgrade old equipment to curb the losses South Africa’s economy suffered due to hampered mineral exports and ships waiting to unload.

“The inefficiencies at our port not only impede the flow of goods but also significantly hamper our economic growth,” the City of Cape Town said.

The city also called for more private-sector integration to boost performance.

At a visit to Cape Town operations last month, Oscar Borchards, Transnet’s acting managing executive for terminals in the Western Cape province, described a plan to increase capacity.

New equipment to load and unload ships will be able to operate in higher wind speeds, avoiding the problem of worsening weather when gusts force the port to shut.

According to Borchards, a recent fruit export season was a challenging period when the need for upgrades “really hit us.”

“We are seeing changes already in terms of improvement, in terms of productivity,” he said. “As the equipment comes up and, and the technology comes into play step by step, it’ll improve.”


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