Transnet CEO gets removal call from businesses near biggest port

The business chamber of Durban, home to Africa’s biggest port, has demanded the removal of top management at Transnet, South Africa’s state logistics company

In a letter to Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Public Enterprises, the chamber listed grievances, including poorly performing ports and rail lines, as well as a lack of clarity on future planning for an expansion to the facility.

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“They have proven time and time again they are incompetent. Transnet requires an executive team that is suitable, accountable, transparent,” Palesa Phili, chief executive officer of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said in the letter. “Businesses are collapsing and losing revenue daily due to the port challenges.”

The demand echoes a similar call late last year by the Minerals Council South Africa, which represents most of the mining companies operating in the country. In 2022 the tonnage of coal railed to the Richards Bay Coal Terminal fell to a 30-year low. In a 2021 World Bank index of container port performance, Durban ranked 364th out of 370 and two other Transnet ports were also in the bottom 10.

In a response to the letter Transnet said Portia Derby, its chief executive officer, met with Phili and the mayor of the municipality that includes Durban, and they agreed to work toward finding solutions. A joint statement will be issued later, the company said.

The Department of Public Enterprises didn’t reply to email sent outside of normal business hours. Johannesburg’s Business Day reported on the letter earlier.

© 2023 Bloomberg

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