As stakeholders work – as part of the National Logistics Crisis Committee – to resolve the most prominent issues impacting on the South African logistics system, including cable theft on rail lines and overloading on roads, it is more important than ever for businesses to optimise their supply chains.
Experts participating in a dialogue hosted by the Transport Forum on August 23 agreed that, by actioning data insights, businesses themselves can help to mitigate overloading on the country’s roads, for example.
In providing the context that South Africa, with its 12 227 twenty-foot equivalent units transported across the country each day, operates in, business intelligence company Crickmay MD Jayce Lane pointed out that the $105-trillion world economy was being influenced by large trading blocks, including the US and China.
He mentioned that, although global weak growth impacted on the South African supply chain, trade in services had shown some resilience compared with goods, particularly in the information and communication technology (ICT) space. He added that African trade had shown more resilience amid global crises than many first-world regions.
Lane said there were nonetheless external factors affecting the South African supply chain, including a global move to regionalisation or localisation, away from globalisation, which had been driven by the need to build resilient supply chains owing to recent events such as Covid-19.
Other impacting factors on the supply chain include the green transition, which could cause market access issues in the near future, as well as geopolitical factors, fluctuating commodity prices and the high interest rate environment.
For example, geopolitical events in Africa increased considerably between 2000 and 2023, including in Zimbabwe, Angola, Mozambique and South Africa, which impacts on transport corridors and logistics decisions.
Border crossing times between Gauteng and Mozambique have also been getting longer, while South African ports