Embattled Transnet chief executive Siyabonga Gama. File Photo: Werner Beukes / SAPA

DURBAN - Embattled Transnet chief executive Siyabonga Gama on Tuesday told delegates at a transport and logistics conference in Durban that the parastatal is aiming to be a multi-billion rand player in the global logistics game by 2020.

“We aim to grow Transnet to a R100 billion business by 2020 and a top five logistics solution provider. All our growth paths will be underpinned by a strong focus on maximising the use of technology to drive efficiency,” he said.

Gama was speaking on the first day of the African Ports and Rail Evolution conference being held at Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre.

Although he did not mention the possibility of soon being sacked – a result of Transnet’s board losing confidence in his ability to lead the company – Gama apologised to the audience for not being in peak health.

“I must apologise, I have been on leave and as I started to come back to work I feel sick,” he said midway through his speech.

In order for Transnet to achieve its aims, it was important for the company to become “digitally obsessed”, said Gama.

“We are setting our sights on growing beyond South Africa and into the continent with the aim of becoming Africa’s largest transport logistics company, one that is recognised and respected globally,” he said. 

For the company to effectively play its role in achieving its strategic objectives, it had to embrace technology and aim to disrupt instead of being disrupted, or else the company would go the way of Kodak. 

“If you don’t reinvent yourself, if you don’t recreate yourself, you will have a Kodak moment,” he said, referring to the camera giant’s bankruptcy, largely attributed to its slow embrace of digital technology. 

Transnet was operating in an ever-changing global environment where traditional markets were changing fundamentally, he said. 

“The fourth industrial revolution is changing the way that we do business, how we respond to our stakeholders and the impact we have on society. We must note that the changes that are currently crystallising will become the norm in the future. Growth is not guaranteed; therefore we must harness a shared vision so that change can propel us to progress.

“This shared future must continuously be debated and defended. While change is exponential and disruptive on industry and society, it also provides Transnet with opportunities to grow and diversify our business.

“Crucially, we all need to reinvent ourselves. We need to recreate and move with the market to bring new offerings and products. We have to be cutting edge, we have to be state of the art and we have to be digitally supported,” said Gama. 

- African News Agency (ANA)