April 26, 2024

Transnet Seeks Private Partner for Port of Cape Town

The announcement by Transnet that it is finally seeking a private partner for development at the Port of Cape Town is long overdue.

Earlier this week, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) issued a call for interested parties to submit bids to acquire, operate, maintain, refurbish, or construct and transfer a liquid bulk terminal at the port for a 25-year concession period.

The port’s well-documented inefficiencies have long been a burden on many South Africans, from exporters struggling to reach offshore clients to ordinary citizens ultimately paying the surcharges on delayed imported products.

Transnet’s notice this week is monumental, signalling a significant shift towards boosting outputs at the Port of Cape Town.

The potential for private sector participation in the port is immense, with the capability to contribute an additional R6 billion in exports, generate roughly 20,000 jobs, and yield over R1,6 billion in additional taxes over five years, as per research from the Western Cape’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism.

“This welcomed development underscores the City’s longstanding advocacy for change. I have written numerous times to the National Government, calling for this shift in operations, and have been in constant dialogue with exporters and companies about the impacts,” – Member for Economic Growth, Alderman James Vos.

However, as we move forward, it’s crucial for Transnet to thoroughly vet all bidders to avoid past mistakes, ensuring that contracts are awarded to reputable entities. Let’s learn from previous missteps, such as the reported issues with an organisation contracted to secure a coal line stretching from Limpopo to KwaZulu-Natal.

With developments such as this, we have the potential to drive real economic growth in Cape Town and beyond.