Aug

Expert warns on negative impacts of City Deep inland port closure

2013-08-22 08:35
Queues of trucks wait outside the City Deep inland port in Johannesburg. Penny Henley, logistics manager at Blue Strata, says closure of the City Deep inland port would result in severe disruption and further escalate the cost of doing business in the country

With South Africa’s coastal ports already experiencing significant capacity strains, closure of the Johannesburg inland port as a result of the South Africa Revenue Services’ (SARS) proposed Customs Control Bill, which was recently approved for submission to parliament by Cabinet, is likely to have negative ramifications for the logistics industry.

“The implementation of this new Bill will directly impact thousands of jobs and would further cause constraints to the Durban port, which has recently been stricken by its own congestion issues,’ says Penny Henley, logistics manager at Blue Strata, South Africa’s only integrated end-to-end import and working capital specialist.

Closure of the City Deep inland port, which is the largest in Africa and the fifth-largest in the world, would result in severe disruption and further escalate the cost of doing business in the country, which is one of the biggest impediments to the growth of import and export businesses in South Africa. Furthermore, this would have a direct impact on the profit margins of struggling small businesses in these industries.

“We would also likely experience a logistical nightmare with increased vessel waiting times, cargo and road truck delays that would result in extended berthing times as well as increased charges for storage,’ says Henley.

Henley adds that the Bill further requires that all imported goods should be cleared and released at the first point of entry.

“Despite the massive job losses that may be suffered by clearing and forwarding agents in Johannesburg, we would also likely experience capacity issues and inefficiencies due to the Durban port being highly congested.

“While we wait for a decision on whether the Customs Control Bill will be passed or not, we hope that government will present the logistics industry with a comprehensive strategy on how the challenges associated with the closure of the City Deep inland port will be dealt with,’ says Henley.

About Blue Strata

Blue Strata is the only true turnkey Import and Working Capital Specialist in South Africa, integrating the many services in the import process by managing not only the physical movement of product but the forex, finance, and product costing into a simple seamless solution for its clients. By offering its patented ‘˜one point of contact’ solution, Blue Strata facilitates everything from order placement, confirmation and tracking through to the hedging of foreign exchange risk, and the management of import logistics until delivery to its client’s warehouse.

In addition to daily interaction, the client can also opt for full visibility of their entire financial and product supply chain through Blue Strata’s online portal BlueLink. Blue Strata will also finance the entire transaction, including overseas supplier payments where required, providing the client with additional working capital and a localised Rand denominated per unit costing for input into stock records.

The company has more than a decade of experience, handles thousands of shipments each year and imports in excess of R4-billion annually, the resultant benefits of better service and cost savings being passed on to the client. Blue Strata is an owner managed business with Investec Bank Limited a major shareholder and is An Authorised Financial Services Provider.

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