Growing the economy with freight

The Department of Transport and Public Works helps develop the economy through the movement of goods by road, train and sea.

Why is freight important to the economy?

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The effective transportation of goods to market helps to increase investment and increase employment in South Africa. 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. 

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.

We offer bursaries through our Masakh’iSizwe Bursary Programme to those studying towards qualifications in transport economics.

Building roads for economic growth

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We understand the impact roads have on freight transport in the Western Cape and allocate a big portion of our budget to road construction and maintenance projects.

The Department of Transport and Public Works has started a R48 million periodic maintenance project to repair, reseal and resurface a 55 km stretch of the R61 near Beaufort West in the Central Karoo District.

Overloaded 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.

Road safety and traffic law enforcement help ensure the safe and legal transportation of freight.

  • Because the brakes on an overloaded vehicle must work harder, the risk of overheating and brake failure increases.
  • Overloaded vehicles are less stable, more difficult to steer, and take longer to stop.
  • Tyres on overloaded vehicles tend to overheat and wear out more quickly, increasing the risk of blowouts.
  • Overloading causes slow acceleration, which obstructs the road. This increases the chance of impatient drivers overtaking in unsafe places.
  • Headlights tilt up in overloaded vehicles, which may blind oncoming drivers.

You will find weighbridges at strategic places in the Western Cape which weigh entire vehicles and their contents. Provincial traffic law enforcement officers routinely hold roadblocks and intervene when trucks are overloaded.

Data for road safety and cost efficiency

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The Integrated Intelligence Hub (ITIH) 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 is critical for effective decision making about the transportation of freight.

Freight road users must:

  • be licensed
  • ensure that the vehicle is roadworthy
  • not speed
  • not overload the vehicle
  • must not drink and drive

On 16 October 2019, we invited members of the freight industry to participate in a workshop focusing on freight road safety.

Watch: Traffic officers deploying smart technology to save lives. #NoWhereToHide

Freight Transport Strategy

We’ve developed the Provincial Freight Strategy to help achieve sustainable freight delivery in the Western Cape.

The strategy will focus on these key areas:

  • planning, coordination and institutional arrangements
  • demand management
  • modal rebalancing
  • infrastructure capacity and condition
  • traffic management
  • technology and innovation, and
  • data and information management 

Read the Western Cape Government's Provincial Freight Strategy

Watch: Freight is the life blood of our economy