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Monday, 08 July 2024 22:44

Creecy vows to improve and turn around the logistics sector.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Transport Minister Barbara Creecy has pledged her support to work closely with the private sector and the National Logistics Crisis Committee (NLCC) to turn around Transnet and boost its performance to pre-Covid-19 pandemic levels.

Creecy delivered the keynote address at the opening of the 42nd Southern African Transport Conference in Pretoria on Monday.

The conference was attended by business leaders, industry experts and government officials from across the region, runs from July 8-11.

Creecy outlined the status quo of the transport sector, the myriad issues facing it globally, and the work the NLCC had done so far to fix Transnet. 

She expressed her commitment to continuing initiatives to improve the sector, including private-public partnerships, reforms to rebuild Transnet to pre-pandemic levels, and rehabilitating the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa lines and reopening them to the public.

Progress achieved by the NLCC would also be bolstered, as would implementation of the Freight Logistics Roadmap.

"Together with minister (of planning, monitoring and evaluation) Maropene Ramokgopa we will ensure important reforms at Transnet continue so that the entity reaches pre-pandemic performance levels.

"Anchoring times for ships waiting to berth at the Port of Durban have been reduced, and a terminal operator has been appointed to enter into a joint partnership with Transnet to develop and upgrade the port."

She also said her department would prioritise road safety and the implementation of its green strategy which is focused on investing in renewable energy infrastructure and promoting the switch to alternative fuels.

South Africa signed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by United Nations members in 2015. One of the sustainable development goals is to halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents by 2030.

However, Creecy said a Statistics South Africa report titled Road Transport Accident Deaths in South Africa, 2007-2019, revealed that the number of deaths resulting from road transport was unacceptably high.

Creecy added that the growth of digital technology and new inventions powered by renewable energy would revolutionise transport over the next decade, while the transition to new energy vehicles (NEVs) was also accelerating rapidly across the globe.

"Such innovations include operational automation and real-time tracking of shipments to assist in port management, digital signalling to modernise the management of our railway system, and the use of artificial intelligence in traffic management, and the introduction of self-drive vehicles and drones for delivery," she said.

Creecy also called for reskilling and upskilling; as well as using the country's location to position it as a transport hub and work to unlock opportunities provided by the African Continental Free Trade Area as well as BRICS.