Ports authority sets new course as storm clouds loom

TNPA unveils fresh operating model to address raft of problems

Plans are under way to improve efficiencies at the Port of Port Elizabeth
CLEANER OPERATIONS: Plans are under way to improve efficiencies at the Port of Port Elizabeth 
Image: EUGENE COETZEE

Battling problems of rising customer dissatisfaction, declining port efficiency performance and the high costs has forced the SA ports authority to change its way of doing business.

The Transnet National Ports Authority on Wednesday unveiled its new operating model aimed at improving efficiency, reducing costs and meeting customer needs.

It had established the new strategy after a period of introspection and recognition of a series of serious problems including rising customer dissatisfaction and declining port efficiencies.

The new model will look to facilitate intra-African trade and, closer to home, ensure cleaner operations in the Port of Port Elizabeth.

The executive manager corporate affairs and external relations for the ports authority, Ayanda Mantshongo, said the new strategy empowered decision-making “and an organisational culture that emphasises the importance of customers and people”.

She said it included a number of focus areas including improved oversight of port terminals and “prioritising backlogs and chronic historical underspending ... to ensure appropriate maintenance and timely provision of critical port infrastructure”.

“Other focus areas include addressing port property vacancies.

“TNPA is in the process of reviewing the lease governance process, property management system and property audit plan.”

Mantshongo said the new operating model was also geared around implementation of a simplified and compliant supply chain management framework to boost efficiencies.

The managing executive for the port authority’s central region, Siyabulela Mhlaluka, addressed several issues affecting Eastern Cape ports.

“There will be cleaner operations at the Port of Port Elizabeth, and planned infrastructure upgrades and developments at the Port of East London.

“There is a need to leverage TNPA’s complementary port system to better enable the agricultural sector and to facilitate trade across the regions.

“The port authority also intends to consolidate the management team for the ports of Ngqura and Port Elizabeth.

“Consultations are in the pipeline to ensure all critical stakeholders are aligned.”

Together with the port authority’s western region managing executive, advocate Phyllis Motsatsi  Difeto, and eastern region managing executive Moshe Motlohi, Mhlaluka said the aim was stronger relationships with customers and other stakeholders through direct and regular engagement.

Mantshongo said the new operating model had been formulated in recognition of the challenges brewing in the ports and socioeconomic sectors generally.

“With a changing global economy, increased competition on the African continent and crippling unemployment figures, TNPA management conducted some introspection, which revealed an urgent need for a review of operations and identified various challenges.

“These included rising customer dissatisfaction, declining port efficiency performance and volumes, inefficiencies and high costs of doing business, a failure to deliver capital projects on time, ageing fleet and infrastructure, and bureaucratic internal processes.”

She said the new model would address all these issues and set the ports authority on a positive new course.

“There is a new blue on the horizon and senza kwenzeke [We make it happen].

“We are going back to basics and moving closer to our customers and our people.”

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