Assessing stakeholders' perspectives on maritime port pricing in South Africa.
The South African government has recognised the importance of promoting efficient and effective transport as well as the strategic role of maritime ports in the logistics chain. This study critically assesses stakeholders’ perspectives on maritime port pricing in South Africa. More specifically, the study analyses the annual Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) tariff application, the stakeholders’ submissions, as well as the Ports Regulator’s record of decisions for 2010/11, 2011/12 and 2012/13 tariff years. The study uses content analysis to analyse the three TNPA tariff applications, 48 stakeholders’ comments/submissions and three Ports Regulator’s records of decisions. The study gathers data on port pricing from 1999 to 2012 and uses descriptive statistics to analyse the trends in port pricing. The stakeholders’ perspectives are contrasted and compared with the three port doctrines identified in the literature, namely, the Anglo-Saxon, the European and the Asian doctrine. The findings show that South Africa’s complementary system of ports and uniform pricing policy is distinct. The content analysis found the following issues: ports stakeholders criticise TNPA for abusing its monopoly power; hindering global competitiveness; not taking cognisance of the state of the country’s economy; charging price increases which are higher than inflation; creating an environment which does not support job creation; being inconsistent and non-compliant with the national policies; not applying cost-based pricing principles; not having a justifiable pricing methodology; low productivity and inefficiency; inconsistent and unreasonable pricing of products; poor service delivery and poor port security. TNPA currently cannot achieve its stated objectives. South Africa has elements of all three contesting port doctrines. The clash in port doctrines is a source of misunderstanding and contention. The ports are financed and managed using a mix of elements from the European and Asian doctrines, whereas the pricing methodology appears to be following the Anglo-Saxon doctrine. The Ports Regulator of South Africa has the potential to deal with the stakeholders concerns, however, this authority needs to be strengthened. South Africa needs to develop a port doctrine that will be consistent with the country’s vision and policies.
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