National Port Regulator rejects TNPA’s application for a 19,74% tariff increase

Finally some good news about tariff increases: there are none, at least not for 2021/22.

The National Port Regulator has rejected Transnet’s latest application for a hefty tariff increase, bringing some much-needed relief to South African maritime stakeholders. The NPR said the decision was aimed partly at helping the country deal with economic hardships brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic. “The Ports Regulator remains committed to reducing the cost of living and the cost of doing business through fair pricing within the South African ports system, and this balanced tariff decision is considered the most prudent course of action for the 2021/22 tariffs period under the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in,” the NPR said in a statement released on November 30.

The decision followed careful consideration of various cargo volume and market-related factors, such as the inflation outlook and cash flow requirements, the Regulator said. “In addition, the Ports Regulator was cognisant of the poor economic climate in the country, both from the underlying structural challenges facing us, but also more pressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the port system.”

“The decision was therefore taken in line with the call by President Ramaphosa for all role-players to contribute to the recovery of the South African economy as a matter of urgency. In this regard, the Ports Regulator is of the opinion that an overall 0% tariff increase as well as an export biased lowering of container cargo dues would be in the best interest of stimulating local manufacturing, beneficiation, and employment creation,” the Regulator said.

The City of Cape Town wasted no time in welcoming the Regulator’s decision and pointing out that it was in line with the City’s submission in September to Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula “to make the case against any increase in port tariffs,” the City’s Head of Economic Opportunities and Asset Management James Vos said in a statement issued after the Regulator’s decision. “I oppose any port tariff increases, especially in current times because now, more than ever, we must assist Cape Town products to reach key markets, to help our companies to expand and create jobs,” Vos said. “That is why I am very pleased that our submissions have been accepted and that businesses will not have to absorb extra costs in the next financial year.

“Through the City’s Enterprise and Investment Department, we focus on attracting investment, providing various kinds of specialist support to small and large businesses, as well as investment incentives and skills development, so we can help businesses reach their full potential, export proudly Capetonian goods and employ more people,’ he said, adding that South African Ports were still expensive and inefficient compared with many other ports around the world.

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