Launch of the Provincial Freight Strategy
Speech by Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works
- Programme Director
- Deputy Director General for Transport Management, Adv Kyle Reinecke and your dedicated team represented here today
- Prof. Jan Havenga, from GAIN Group (Pty) Ltd
- Freight Industry representatives
- Invited guests
- Ladies and gentlemen
It is an honour for me to welcome you all today on what is a very important occasion - the launch of our much anticipated Provincial Freight Strategy, which will be the framework that guides the Department in fulfilling its obligation as outlined in the National Land Transport Act (NLTA, 5 of 2009).
The NLTA clearly states that, “… planning authorities must develop a freight transportation strategy, with due regard to national and provincial policy, covering the transportation of goods to, from and through the area by road, taking into account – (a) the movement of good to, from, and through the area by rail or pipeline; and (b) the movement of goods to and from ports or airports.”
The importance of freight in any economy cannot be overstated, making the development of effective strategies that much more important. The effective transportation of goods to market helps to increase investment and increase employment in South Africa. We know that freight transportation efficiency affects the cost of the goods we buy, and when and where these goods are available. Greater freight efficiency is likely to lead to lower costs of goods and increased availability which has a direct benefit to the consumer.
The field of Transport Economics provides the most insight into the freight space and ways to improve efficiency. Transport Economics is the study of the movement of people and goods over space and time. The aim is to work out the best ways of allocating resources so that the supply of transport services most effectively meets the demand.
It is worth noting that the Department of Transport and Public Works, through our Masakh’iSizwe Bursary Programme, offers bursaries to those studying towards qualifications in the field of transport economics as a skill set that is important to the work we do in the land transportation space.
The Department of Transport and Public Works is acutely aware of not only the impact that freight has on our roads, but also the impact that good roads have on freight transport in the Western Cape. This is why we allocate a substantial portion of our budget to road construction and maintenance projects.
While we remain of the opinion that a large proportion of freight that is currently transported on our roads should be shifted and conveyed on rail, we cannot ignore the realities of the current situation that require careful management. Heavily laden vehicles cause damage to roads which leads to higher maintenance and repair costs. This places an additional burden on the state as well as road users who will ultimately bear the brunt of a fuel levy and vehicle licence fee increase.
Some major construction projects that the department has undertaken recently, namely the expansion work on the N1, N2 and the R300, are expected not only to have a positive impact on congestion, but also on freight transportation in particular.
From an enforcement point of view, our efforts remain committed to ensuring that freight transportation on provincial roads is safe. Our Provincial Traffic Services work 24/7 to facilitate a safe and legal transportation of freight, conducting regular checks on vehicle safety elements, and providing weighbridges at strategic locations across the province.
Later we will also be hearing about the work done in establishing an Integrated Transport Intelligence Hub (ITIH), which integrates a wide range of information from various sources that can be used to monitor patterns and trends. This enables officials to quickly identify matters that need urgent attention, including freight traffic management and road safety issues. Data gathered at this hub are critical for effective decision making about the transportation of freight.
I look forward to the presentations that will be made today, and the robust discussions that are likely to follow.
I must commend the Transport Management Team, under the capable leadership of Adv. Kyle Reinecke, for the excellent work they have done in developing the strategy that we are launching here today. The work now begins to create and manage an efficient freight transportation environment here in the Western Cape.
I thank you!