CAPE TOWN- Continued inefficiencies at the Port of Cape Town could hurt agricultural exports and the economy of the Western Cape in general, the province’s member of the executive council for agriculture Ivan Meyer said on Friday.
In a statement, Meyer said the Western Cape was responsible for 50 percent of the country’s agricultural exports and the port was a vital cog in the wheel of the provincial and national economy.
“Any inefficiencies in this port will therefore harm the Western Cape's economy and cost jobs at a time when we desperately need to be creating more of them,” he warned.
“On the other hand, if we get this right, many people will benefit. In fact, according to our research, growing our exports by five percent over five years will create approximately 19,000 new jobs in the Western Cape.”
Meyer said a shortage of equipment as well as the use of obsolete equipment highlighted the port authority’s inability to manage the Cape Town terminal efficiently.
He said the provincial department of economic development and tourism had established a port task team which had brought stakeholders together to find solutions to the challenges facing the port.
While the task team had achieved some success to date, Meyer said improving the port efficiency would require intervention by the national government, urging President Cyril Ramaphosa to visit the port urgently.
Meyer said he would also raise his concerns with senior management at Transnet Port Terminals.
“An efficiently run Port of Cape Town will enhance the economic recovery of the Western Cape and support the critical role that the agriculture sector is playing in growing the economy and creating jobs,” he added.