Ports call for new entrants

Plan to empower black-owned entities

Port concessions will be up for grabs around the country as the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) opens the doors of its commercial harbours to black business. As part of its call for new entrants into the country’s ports, Transnet has announced a national roadshow, with the Eastern Cape leg taking place in Port Elizabeth on March 13.

This will be to attract new entrants that meet black empowerment (BBBEE) requirements.

According to a Transnet statement, a number of opportunities are in the pipeline for the private sector, which is critical to meet its mandate as a change agent.

TNPA general manager for commercial and marketing Lauriette Sesoko said the roadshows were directed at securing potential port concession partners.

“The roadshows will acquaint potential bidders, interested parties and funders with the stringent requirements for bidding and participating in TNPA’s port concession projects,” Sesoko said.

“These concessions see us transfer operating rights to a private enterprise for a specified period subject to the terms of the contract.”

She said Section 56 of the National Ports Act mandated TNPA to contract private terminal operators to design, construct, rehabilitate, develop, finance, maintain and operate port terminals or facilities.

“As the National Ports Authority, we also have a responsibility to the country to help address the three scourges plaguing South Africa – unemployment, poverty and inequality.

“This means we must seek to make business opportunities available for small and emerging businesses owned by previously disadvantaged individuals.

“These roadshows are about educating the market and attracting prospective partners with the aim of fostering transformation within this space.”

Representatives of Transnet’s new business development team will share opportunities around upcoming port concessions.

Sesoko said project funders were also encouraged to attend the sessions to encourage integration with technical, financial and transformation partners.

She said the opportunities to be made available to historically disadvantaged individuals fell under the parastatal’s market demand strategy.

An example is the new liquid bulk terminal at the Port of Ngqura, which will be developed and operated by Oiltanking Grindrod Calulo, a majority South African-owned level 1 BBBEE entity.

Mandla Misizi, secretary of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce in the Bay, said while more should be done to facilitate smaller businesses, Transnet had made significant progress in accommodating black businesses.

“It is really tough for small enterprises to get contracts from the ports authority and a lot of the big contracts are handled by overseas companies,” he said.

“However, Transnet has built black participation into these contracts and this has really made a difference.

“More black businesses are getting contracts and many joint ventures involving black businesses are being created, so there is positive development.”

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