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  October 12th, 2016 | Written by

Spotlight on African Ports

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  • Ninety-percent of Africa’s trade is conducted via seaports.
  • Port operators and industry experts will gather in Durban at the fifth annual African Ports Evolution Forum.
  • African ports forum to focus on improving port infrastructure and competitiveness.

Ninety-percent of Africa’s trade is conducted via seaports, with South Africa’s bustling Durban port leading the way. Durban handled more volume than any other port in the southern part of the continent.

The port handles close to 5,000 commercial vessels every year, translating to 74 million tons of cargo, with expected growth at Durban to an impressive 175 million tons within 30 years.

To cope with the demands and forecast growth in container, bulk liquid handling, and automotive cargo, a number of projects are underway at the port that are already having a positive impact.

“The ships are being offloaded much faster and the turnaround times are much faster,” said Riaz Randeree, a Durban-based businessman who imports food products from Malaysia. “I’m expecting my next container next weekend, and I’m expecting it to be cleared with ease.”

From October 18 to 19, port operators and industry experts from across Africa will all gather in Durban at the fifth annual African Ports Evolution Forum to learn, network, and discuss best practices on how to improve port infrastructure and competitiveness, connectivity with rail networks and logistics performance.

The African Ports Evolution Forum forms part of a week long series of activities dedicated to the African transport sector, attracting over 1000 participants from over 15 countries and incorporates a trade expo, the African Rail Evolution Forum, the Women in Transport Awards, and Kwazulu-Natal Export Week.

Increasing port competitiveness through improved customer focused needs is a key driver of most ports in Africa. Aruna Bunwaree Ramsaha, deputy director general of the Mauritius Port Authority, will be speaking at the forum on how the Port Louis Harbor has been improving port infrastructure with the goal of enhancing the customer experience.

Ramsaha has been extensively involved in various port development projects including the setting up of the Mauritius Container Terminal (MCT) and the proposed privatization of container handling operations of the port. During her career, she has been involved in issues relating to port tariffs, procurement of port assets, port investment financing, and concessioning of port assets.

The forum will feature content and in depth discussions on mobilizing private investment for major infrastructure projects, how to facilitate trade across African borders, demystifying the concept of smart ports, the benefits of developing African Special Economic Zones and improving hinterland connectivity.