Business | Business News
Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) staff in Johannesburg and Durban are not the only ones up in arms about a decision to relocate its head office – currently split between the two cities – to a new single HQ at the
Eastern Cape’s Port of Ngqura, 20 kilometres north of Port Elizabeth.
Organised business bodies in Durban, including the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), the KwaZulu-Natal Growth Coalition and the South African Association of Shipping Operators and Agents (Saasoa)
are shocked and disappointed at not being consulted.
TNPA confirmed the move in a statement last week, after the Sunday Times reported the decision had caused an “internal revolt” among staff who now must relocate from 1 April.
With Durban being sub-Saharan Africa’s busiest container port, the DCCI, Saasoa and the KwaZulu-Natal Growth Coalition have raised concerns that the city has not only been overlooked as the “natural choice” for TNPA’s
consolidated office, but that the move will also result in the closure of TNPA’s office in the city.
DCCI chief executive Palesa Phili said the chamber had written to TNPA CEO Pepi Silinga and Transnet Group CEO Portia Derby, with Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s office included in the correspondence, hoping to change their minds.
“It is shocking that such a decision was taken without consultation, especially with local business and the shipping industry…
“This move will be detrimental to the Port of Durban. It can’t just have a port manager – it needs executive focus as the country’s busiest port, handling over 60% of container cargo traffic,” she says.
“We hope that this decision is not cast in stone. It does not make logistics sense, especially with the Durban-Johannesburg corridor being the key import and export route for SA.
“In addition, there are so few flights between Durban and PE, a city that also does not have direct international flights.”
In TNPA’s statement, Silinga noted the move is part of Transnet (Group’s) “ongoing cost-saving and efficiency initiatives”.
The ports authority claims the move will bring about savings of approximately R25 million a year from lease agreements for the Johannesburg and Durban offices.
Saasoa chair Malte Karsten said Durban should have been TNPA’s choice, especially considering Transnet Port Terminal’s head office and the Ports Regulator of South Africa are there.
This article first appeared on Moneyweb and was republished with permission.
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