Opening Terminals to Private Operators



Vicky Kaselimi and Dr. Theo Notteboom, Institute of Transport and Maritime Management, Antwerp (ITMMA), University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium


The South African container terminal governance model

Most ports around the world are governed following the landlord port authority scheme. Under this management model, terminal operations are awarded to private companies using long-term concession agreements that are signed between the (public) port authority and the private terminal operator. South African ports constitute an exception to this rule. All major ports in South Africa are owned and operated by state-owned Transnet, and its respective divisions such as the port authority Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA) and terminal operator Transnet Port Terminals (TPT). TPT is responsible for the cargo handling and logistics management solutions at the container terminals of the ports of Durban, Port Elizabeth, Ngqura and Cape Town. This governance model created a factual monopoly in the container terminal operating business in South Africa. TPT only faces competition from global terminal operators active in seaports located in neighboring countries such as Maputo (Mozambique), Walvis Bay (Namibia) and the ports on the islands of Mauritius and Madagascar. Still, both competition in the market and competition for the  South African gateway cargo market remain limited. Opening up container terminal operations in one or more terminals in South Africa to outside terminal operators could change competitive dynamics in the region…

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