(Continued from last week)
“The primary function of the port system will be, as gateways to the world, to operate with modern infrastructure provided by dependable funding sources, using optimal technology.”
3. NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY FOR COMMERCIAL PORTS
The commercial ports of South Africa will be operated on a national commercial port system basis, with the ports complementing each other rather than competing with each other. Government encourages beneficial intra-port competition between port operators within a port.
Port development cannot be considered in isolation, but should be integrated into any national, provincial and local economic and spatial development initiatives, and also support the RDP. There should be synergy among port development, and national and provincial economic and development strategies. Long-term location planning for ports should run parallel to provincial and regional economic development plans.
The development of commercial ports must be integrated in nature, with port facilities being planned together with other elements of the transport system. The planning and integration of port facilities into the broader transport network should be co-ordinated at the appropriate sphere of government.
The port’s national development framework plans should inform and be included in a provincial transport plan which, in turn, should form part of an economic development plan for the province. Naturally, they should also conform to any national spatial, economic and other initiatives. Proper integrated planning must be done to ensure greater efficiencies are delivered by the transport system.
This policy advocates port and city co-operation through planning structures that will be facilitative and enabling of that particular intent. This shall be achieved by:
Having the national port authority established as a planning and development co-ordinating body; and
— Ensuring that the planning of each port is localised as much as possible to allow for flexibility and rapid response to changing market conditions and customer demands within the context of the national commercial port development framework and stakeholder consultation through the local port consultative committee.
4. FINANCIAL ELEMENTS OF PORT USAGE
The White Paper distinguished between elements of “economic” infrastructure and operations which are able to provide a measurable economic or financial return, and elements of infrastructure and operations which cannot, or should not, be paid for by the user, but which provide social benefits. The first category includes infrastructure, such as primary roads, railways, airports and ports, where the principle of user pays or cost recovery from direct users will be applied as far as possible, which would include a fair return.
The Government will, in the case of such infrastructure and services, strive to prevent any actions form distorting pricing. In the case of socially necessary infrastructure and services, the Government will contribute or guarantee financing. It will also strive to level the playing fields in this case, and may promote competition where appropriate.
5. CONSTRUCTION OF COMMERCIAL PORTS
Due to the strategic importance of the commercial ports to the entire economy of the country, no person, other than the National Port Authority, shall build, own or exploit any commercial port including future offshore cargo handling facilities to be used or intended to be used by sea-going vessels, for load or off-loading of trade cargo or passengers.
6. CLOSURE OF COMMERCIAL PORTS
In the event that any port becomes non-profitable, the National Port Authority might close that port only after the Cabinet has issued such a directive based on the finding of an inquiry pertaining to the reason for such a closure.
7. IMPROVING THE COMPETITIVE POSITION OF SOUTH AFRICA’S COMMERCIAL PORTS
Competitiveness is defined as ensuring that the port and transportation system can meet the requirements of its users. Competitiveness is a key aspect that influence South Africa’s place in global markets. To compete successfully for business in domestic and international markets, ports and other transport operators must have the ability to move people and cargo efficiently, reliably, and at a reasonable cost, without infrastructure impediments or congestion delays.
For exporters and importers, competitiveness translate into a demand for intermodal services that provide speedy movement through ports and terminal transfer facilities to landside transportation. It also translate into a demand for ready access to the transportation information that is needed by all parties to the various transactions involved in trade. There is a sense of urgency among some port stakeholders who maintain that there is not enough spending on construction, operations and maintenance for ports.
The future competitiveness of the port system and infrastructure will be influenced by the following capacity issues:
•Land use in and around the ports;
•Demand and constraints on intermodal connections;
•Advances in information technologies and navigational systems; and
•Increasing dredging requirements.
Thus, there is a need to improve the productivity, throughput capacity and accessibility to meet the expected growth in international trade.
The port authority’s tariffs in future should be based on the principles of user pays, cost-based tariffs and adequate return on capital employed. The South African port system should remain financially autonomous and not require subsidisation from the State.
As the policy aims to achieve long-term benefits for the country as a whole, government encourages beneficial intra-port competition but cautions against destructive competition.
The primary function of the port system will be, as gateways to the world, to operate with modern infrastructure provided by dependable funding sources, using optimal technology. In terms of capacity, efficiency, safety and security and environmental enhancement, the ports will be world class. The inland transportation capacity will match the ports throughput.
In order for our ports to truly become globally competitive, and thereby enhance the competitiveness of South African enterprises, the economy and the region, the port system must be encouraged to develop and progress to the status of the most modern ports internationally, within a reasonable period of time. The National Port Authority of South Africa will pursue this agenda with vigour and Government will do all it can to support the port authority in its endeavours, particularly with regard to creating a unified port community, integrating the port with trade and logistics chains in the transport network and the development of world class technologies.
This implies that ports:
•are no longer passive points of interface between sea and land transport;
•play an active role in the world transport system and promote the port concerned;
•play an active role in stimulating trade;
•will become dynamic nodes in complex international production/distribution network; and
•will become integrated transport centers and logistics platforms for international trade.
8. TRADE FACILITATION AND INTEGRATION
Ports needs to act as creative partners in international trade development and facilitate trade processes at sea / land interface. Policies dealing with transport infrastructure must therefore ensure that cognisance is taking of trade and economic policies, strategies and programmes and that alignment between what the economy requires and what the transport system provides are more coherent.
The logistics system needs to support trade by facilitating the efficient movement of goods, by providing visibility of where goods are in the logistics chain and by providing a seamless administrative process. In facilitating trade, customs regulations and practices need to be improved and streamlined. Government will assist in facilitating the design and implementation of efficient, enhanced communication, and information systems. Further Government will assist in trade documentation harmonization efforts. In particular, Ports will be required to supply service providers with adequate technology infrastructure to enable the efficient management of trade processes.
9. SUPPORTING AN INTEGRATED INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY
Government’s industrial strategy seeks to harness regional complementarities with the aim of promoting economies of scale and developing an integrated regional production system. This strategy depends on our ability to leverage knowledge and technology to integrate backward and forward linkages with production processes. Although this strategy is relevant to all manufacturing, government has identified certain priority sectors for implementation. Integrated logistics, as a key component of the supply chain process, will play a critical role in the success of this approach.
The Ports Authority will ensure that the National Ports Development Strategy and that individual Ports will prioritise and be responsive to the physical and technology infrastructure that is required to support the integrated industrial strategy. In particular, the Authority will prioritise the provision of infrastructure to those manufacturing sectors that government has identified as strategic.
10. SUSTAINABILITY AND VIABILITY
These concepts cover environmental, economic and financial issues and form the basic premise on which this policy is based. Sustainable development in its simplest form is development that will endure, whereas another definition states “sustainable development is development which meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Viability requires that benefits exceed costs. Benefits and costs include economic and social-economic concepts as well as the multiplier effects. Socio-economic matters include job creation, the promotion of SMMEs, increasing the national skills base through capacity building and training of employees, increasing trade and tourism.