Growing African ports sustainably

The challenge in Africa will be to achieve future growth with sustainability of operations The challenge in Africa will be to achieve future growth with sustainability of operations

The Transnet Port Terminals chief executive, Karl Socikwa, says that economic growth prospects for Africa will present both opportunities and challenges – not least in terms of sustainability.

In an article for Business Report, he writes that port operators will have to look beyond the terminal gates in future in order to achieve sustainability of operations and take cognisance of the health risks that come with port expansions.

“Our challenge is to sustainably support growth in trade between African countries as this will have a significant impact on the environment with shipping-related emissions in ports predicted to increase by the same percentage,” he said.

Mr Socikwa pointed out that it is only by working together that terminal managers and cities will find solutions.

It is currently estimated that shipping-related particulate matter emissions in port cities are responsible for about 60,000 cardiopulmonary and lung cancer related deaths annually around the world.

Most of Africa’s ports are in close proximity to city centres and residential areas, for example Cape Town, Durban and Dar es Salaam.

It is therefore vital, Mr Socikwa said, that any future terminal investment in Africa has to take this into account and focus on reducing emissions by looking at terminal infrastructure, equipment and modern operating systems.

Shipping companies must also play their part too through the introduction of newer more efficient vessels or the retrofitting of older ones, he said.

“As an industry we have the solutions to reduce the environmental impact of growth along the entire logistics vale chain which in the majority of cases starts or finishes at the port terminal. All that is required is for terminal operations to be fully integrated into the fabric of the cities and regions they serve.”



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