As South Africa experiences devastating droughts across many parts of the country, food shortages become the new reality. According to the press this week, our ports are sadly ill-prepared to handle the massive agricultural imports that loom for the year ahead.
Grain South Africa (GSA) estimates that up to 5 million tons of maize will be imported over the period May 2016 to April 2017, as well as up to 2 million tons of wheat.
With these figures in mind, Transnet Port Terminals Agricultural Bulk operations had a total of just 4 million tons of capacity available across all seven of its local ports over the last year.
Another factor influencing the logistics is that Zimbabwe will also be importing maize during that period, most likely requiring the services of South African ports.
Transnet is apparently in the process of preparing for this influx. Transnet spokesperson Mboniso Sigonyela said, “Some of the initiatives include adapting and improving our handling methods, focusing on efficiencies, as well as storage facilities. We are confident that we will meet the demand on both rail and ports, should the need arise.”