Picture: Elmond Jiyane / GCIS – President Cyril Ramaphosa is given a guided tour of the Port of Richards Bay by the leadership of Transnet to assess the state of the port and efforts under way to address the challenges with congestion. He was joined by Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan and KwaZulu-Natal Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube.
By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi
President Cyril Ramaphosa visited Richards Bay this week, where he said plans were afoot to fix the port and reduce inefficiencies that have caused huge delays in the export of goods.
Ramaphosa said the problems have been building up over the years, including the lack of maintenance of locomotives and old equipment, which has affected the operations at Richards Bay. There has been massive congestion on the road and at sea, with ships waiting for days to offload goods.
Ramaphosa said they have done the diagnostic analysis and Transnet will implement the roadmap that will get it out of the quagmire.
Ships are stuck at sea for days before they can offload cargo.
Trucks are stuck on the road outside the port for days before they can be processed.
“Transnet has a lot of challenges. Challenges that emanate from the past … But what I was really pleased about is that they have a roadmap. A roadmap that is going to help resolve many of the problems and challenges that Transnet is going through.
“The trucks, as long as they are still on the roads, will be coming in. But in the end, we want the trucks off the roads. We want the products to be exported by rail, and we are working towards that plan.
“The plans that we have got for this precinct are of high quality. There are going to be a lot of investments, up to R160 billion. But the other important aspect, of course, is that Transnet has now embraced and accepted working together with the private sector,” Ramaphosa said.
He said they had roped in the private sector to assist in the operations of the port. The private sector will play a role either through concessions or co-operation, he said.
Transnet will run various operations at the port with the private sector.
Ramaphosa said he wants to see problems resolved early next year.
Siyabonga Mkhwanazi is Western Cape Politics and Opinions Editor