The reliability of African ports for import and export traffic is likely to deteriorate before getting better, according to Portoverview.com.which advises importers, exporters and traders in planning their supply chain to and from the continent.
Speaking earlier this week at the Cool Logistics Conference in Cape Town, Africa. Portoverview.com’s Victor Shieh said almost 2,000 incidents were recorded on its portal over the last 16 months, with an average of one weather-related incident per day for South Africa alone.
Current congestion issues will remain a problem whilst port infrastructure is renewed over the next years. However, we see African hinterland connections beyond the terminal gates as the biggest challenge facing shippers,” Shieh emphasised.
In a study presented at the conference, road and rail construction as well as investment in port infrastructure were identified as the main positive developments recorded on the portal.
Greenfield sites along the African coast are cited as having the greatest potential to improve cargo efficiency. Projects such as the 2.5 million teu site iat Lekki in Nigeria and the 5 million teu expansion at Tangier-Med, in Morocco, will require similar investments on the intermodal leg to succeed.
Recent research by SeaIntel Maritime Analysis, which is co-owner of the portal, revealed that African exporters have no more than an average 60% chance that their containers will arrive on time in Asia with the percentage falling to 55% for Europe.
“For shippers – especially ones who produce and distribute perishable products – that’s a real challenge” commented Morten Berg Thomsen, a shipping analyst at SeaIntel.
Helen Palmer, director, Sutcliffe’s Maritime, a UK-based shipping agent told Lloyd’s Loading List.com that as far as ro-ro traffic was concerned she was not aware of any serious congestion and delays into African ports
“I can’t speak for box traffic but in the case of ro-ro into ports such as Mombasa, in East Africa, transit is extremely smooth with trucks waiting on the quayside as soon as the ship’s ramp comes down. Dar es Salaam, is perhaps a little less straightforward but certainly nothing major,” she said.