New Gauteng Freight Forum aims to get trucks and cargo moving efficiently
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THE GAUTENG Department of Roads and Transport and industry associations in the supply chain, transport and retail sectors yesterday established a forum to get trucks and freight moving more efficiently.
The formation of the new body comes at a time when transport between the country’s two biggest metropolitan centres, Joburg and eThekwini, ground to halt last week because of severe looting and riots in the two provinces. The N3 linking the two cities may be open, but many transport operators are still not operating in KwaZulu-Natal.
Called the Gauteng Freight Forum, the initiative aimed to be a common platform for information sharing between the private sector and the government. The forum would also assist in troubleshooting and intervening in areas of concern, a statement said yesterday.
Organisations that have joined the forum included the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA), the Road Freight Association (RFA), the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF), the South African Express Parcel Association and The Transport Forum.
“The forum has committed to ensuring that the movement of essential goods and services continues, with the active co-operation between the private sector and various arms of government,” a statement said.
Gauteng MEC Jacob Mamabolo said it was important for the forum to meet monthly and analyse risks relating to roads, ports and rail corridors, and deal with them promptly and swiftly. Information sharing was critical for this.
More than 60 percent of freight in the country originates from or leaves through Gauteng.
According to reports, last week’s unrest started with the burning of freight trucks at Mooi River toll plaza on the N3, the scene of a number of similar burnings over the past three years.
“We want to reposition Gauteng as the inland hub for freight and logistics: we need to realise its competitive advantage,” said Mamabolo.
In its inaugural meeting today, the Gauteng Freight Forum agreed to work on a concept to secure the Gauteng transport corridor, which included ensuring there was visible policing and law enforcement.
The freight industry welcomed the establishment of the forum. “We are committed. We will collaborate all the way,” said SAAFF chairperson Dr Juanita Maree.
“We fully support the establishment of the Gauteng Freight Forum and look forward to working together to keep the wheels of our economy turning,” said RFA chief executive Gavin Kelly.
The CGCSA last week appealed to the government to provide effective protection for its members’ employees, commercial properties and distribution centres in the areas affected by the riots, and to ensure the safe passage of delivery vehicles in these areas.