Shippers have hit out at attempts by Transnet to try and raise tariffs at a time when the full details of a huge corruption scandal are unravelling at South Africa’s top port operator.
Transnet, which runs container terminals in Durban, Ngqura, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town and is also the national port authority, is trying to push through price increases of 8.45% this year and a massive 24.8% next year.
Janine Myburgh, president of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has responded to the price hikes in an open letter noting that Transnet has been involved in a great deal of wasteful spending and corruption and it was time for cargo owners to “claw back” money spent on excessive port charges.
Ports operated by Transnet already charge fare more than the global average, Myburgh pointed out.
Recent revelations have shown Transnet paying over the odds for cranes and locomotives in corruption kickbacks to an intermediary amounting to more than $400m.
“In these circumstances, we submit, that it absurd to base tariffs on ‘revenue needed’ when the revenue could include billions of rands for wasteful or corrupt transactions by Transnet,” Myburgh wrote.