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Coega celebrates Transport Month and the value of transport infrastructure - published 31 Oct 2022

Coega celebrates Transport Month and the value of transport infrastructure

Coega SEZ road networks provide ease of access to national roads, and sea and air travel.

 

 

Gqeberha, South Africa, 31 October 2022 - Transport Month is observed annually in South Africa – and rightfully so – as transport is vital to our country’s economic productivity and development. While the improvement of public transport systems may be underway across the country, we must strive for partnership and collaboration toward fast-tracking the implementation thereof.

This year’s theme was “Together, we move South Africa Forward”. Indeed, the only way we can address our transport challenges is through collaboration and partnerships.

For the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) and Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ) – a preferred investment destination and leading SEZ in Africa – efficient transport systems and associated logistics networks are fundamental to industrial development and accessing global markets. “Coega reaffirms this as the organisation acknowledges Transport Month and the role of transport logistics in advancing the country’s Special Economic Zones, industrialisation, and international trade,” says CDC Business Development Manager, Ms Linda Sityoshwana.

Encompassing 750 000 kilometres (km) of roadways, 21 000 km of railroads and 90 airports, the South African transport network is truly an undervalued asset. The latter makes up a quarter of the road, rail, and airport networks on the African continent. South Africa’s eight commercial seaports are points of entry into Sub-Saharan Africa, making this country a gateway into our beautiful and rich continent.

“South Africa should aim to leverage its geographical location by utilising transport infrastructure as a mechanism to strengthen the economy. Value addition should occur along the transport routes, prior to commodities crossing our borders, whether they are imports or exports. The same would apply for the beneficiation of minerals if we are to truly rise as an economic hub of global appeal,” says Sityoshwana.

The country’s annual Transport Month celebrations are geared towards creating awareness about the role of transport as an economic development enabler as well as an essential component of individual daily productivity. As an integral component of our daily lives, the many faces of transport are often taken for granted. Transport, logistics and supply chain networks impact almost every aspect of daily living – from the journey our food makes from agricultural sites and farms to markets and retailers, to daily commuting, and the dawn of e-commerce and next-day deliveries. “As we engage in matters of the economic and spatial development of towns, cities and broader regions, transport should be a central factor,” remarks Sityoshwana.

Semiyou Rafiou, CDC Senior Economist, comments on the importance of transport systems within the Nelson Mandela Bay area. “The transport sector is a critical driver of socio-economic development and growth for the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro and an important component of the Metro’s competitiveness in today’s global markets. Although the impact of the growth varies, depending on each regions’ stage of economic development, investment in transport infrastructure can make a huge difference,” he says.

The direct benefits to economic development include increased productivity gained from access to a larger and more diverse base of inputs such as raw materials, parts, energy as well as labour, and broader markets for more diverse outputs. Total transport investments represent on average 15.2% of the total fixed investments within the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro; 2.6 percentage points above the provincial average shares and 3.8 percentage points above the national average shares over the last 10 years. During that period, total transportation investments declined on average by 3.1%. As a result, the gross value added at basic prices of the transport sector has been declining at an annual rate of 1.3% and represents on average 6.4% of the total economy of the Metro.

The Coega SEZ is strategically located on the South-East corridor of major shipping lines, as a transshipment hub, gateway to African and global markets, and is serviced by two main seaports: the Port of Port Elizabeth and the Deepwater Port of Ngqura. Moreover, the Coega SEZ is a connected Zone due to easy access to an air, sea, and road network, including overnight cargo flights from major local airports to destination markets.

This year’s Transport Month theme centres around the millions of people working to keep our transport networks operational despite many challenges, and the contribution they make to our daily lives. Most of the time, they go about their duty unnoticed, but this month, we give them a bow.

Furthermore, South Africa was also honoured to host 178 countries at the World Maritime Day Parallel Event in Durban this year – the city with the largest and busiest seaport in Sub-Saharan Africa. This was the first event held since the Covid-19 pandemic, and indeed the interest is self-explanatory when looking at the number of delegates who attended the event. Sponsored by major industry players from the Port Regulator to Shipping Lines and Special Economic Zones, it is the Transport Industry’s event of the year. The theme this year was Greener Shipping, showcasing what the maritime industry and South Africa, in particular, has to offer.

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