SA’s transport sector in the age of Covid: A roadmap to economic recovery
The South African transport sector entered the age of Covid already beset by several major challenges. Ageing infrastructure; a lack of impartial regulatory bodies; an unfriendly environment for private sector collaboration; over-reliance on roads for both public transport and freight; and a skewered subsidy model are a few of the structural obstacles that were present.
Covid-19 has both highlighted and exacerbated these hurdles and must force the industry out of complacency. The challenges it faces must be viewed as opportunities with the problem areas providing a guide as to the solutions that can be delivered with maximum impact, where they’re most needed.
A study conducted in partnership by Business for SA and global management consultancy firm, Kearney found that the already beleaguered transport industry has been further imperiled in 2020, and in the absence of any interventions, would likely plunge into an L-shaped curve, in terms of both GDP generated and employment levels, from which it would take at least five years to emerge.
However, Sujeet Morar, Principal at global management consultancy Kearney, believes that the challenges are not insurmountable and that there are solutions in the form of interventions that have the potential to deliver up to R223 billion and create up to 168 000 formal sector jobs, figures which far exceed the potential losses incurred by the Covid-19 pandemic. But for these to be effective government will have to act swiftly, delegating efficient, accountable teams, and galvanizing private-public collaboration.
Pre-Covid studies had positioned transport among the high impact, high potential growth sectors that have been earmarked for priority interventions (along with sectors like financing, petroleum-products, metals, and construction). All of these have the potential to induce cascading benefits that ripple throughout the broader economy, but perhaps none more so than transport.
“Inasmuch as it enables the movement of people and goods, the transport industry is a necessary facilitator and catalyst of every other industry at the macro-economic level. It is a crucial determinant of development metrics like GDP, and also prefigures a nation’s overall competitiveness in the global economic arena. Just as other industries rely on transport, transport itself is reliant on a functional, well-maintained infrastructure of roads, railways and ports; both air and sea”, explains Morar.
The role of transport in an economy is double-edged: it at once serves the demand of other sectors, and drives national and industrial competitiveness at the regional, national and global levels, through enhanced process efficiencies and cost improvements.
Within the land-based road- and rail- subsectors, the freight industry is the primary contributor to income, approximately 55% of which is derived from 3 key industries – mining, manufacture, and agriculture.
“Re-energising transport starts with sound governance. We advocate for a Single Transport Economic Regulator (STER), as well as a standalone ports authority and an independent rail regulator. Such structures would provide transparency, impartial oversight, and enhanced competition. In addition to this, we recommend a strong government-enabled model for collaborative networking amongst SMME’s, private companies, and academies or associations”, Morar elaborates.
A seismic shift in economic history, the covid-19 pandemic and its after-effects are ushering in a veritable fourth industrial revolution for the SA transport sector. “We anticipate many more Private-Public Partnerships (PPPs) including collaborations with logistics partners to overcome traditional obstacles, and start to forge more cost-effective, multi-modal transport solutions”, says Morar.View more
Announcement: Smarter Mobility Africa LIVE 2020
We are excited to share that Smarter Mobility Africa LIVE 2020, will take place on 6-8 October as a virtual summit.
|The discussion and action around smarter mobility is needed to unlock the social, economic, and environmental benefits in Africa. In partnership with Gauteng Provincial Roads and Transport department and UNEP, the theme for Smarter Mobility Africa LIVE 2020 will be ‘Seizing Momentum, Embracing Reflection, and Driving Change’, which captures the current dynamics that the government, the private sector, and end-users are currently facing. |
Generation.e very quickly became a market leader in virtual mobility events, during 2020 as we responded to the changing dynamics posed by Covid-19. In the last 6 months, we delivered two of the world’s most creative mobility summits, one in the Middle East (Smarter Mobility World) and one in Europe (Smarter Mobility Europe).
Joe Paris, Founder of Zumo said “Great event. Some online experiences are not that great, but this one was fantastic, with very interesting (and varied) speakers.”
The key discussions, exhibitions, and presentations over the three days of Smarter Mobility Africa 2020 will focus on Public Transport Day (6 Oct) Electric Vehicle Day (7 Oct) Walking, Cycling, Micro and Shared Mobility Day (8 Oct)
Yes, that’s right! Three full-day conferences rolled into one event, that draws on the key challenges and opportunities relating to e-Mobility for today and tomorrow.
Some of the key topics that will be addressed include Financing sustainable mobility – the role of governments and development banks for more equitable financing. Boosting entrepreneurship for smarter mobility, integrating into public transport. Policy options to support electric vehicle development and integration in Africa. The electric motorbike revolution and how to get there. Increasing access to mobility in Africa through mini-grids: Electric vehicles & batteries & renewable energy systems 70-90% of the population of most African cities are walking, but without adequate infrastructure, which causes huge fatalities. What can be done to unlock the potential around smarter mobility as well as improve safety? The rise of home deliveries as a result of the pandemic – who’s going to benefit? Welcome to our confirmed headline partners for Smarter Mobility Africa LIVE (more to be announced, keep checking our website for the latest updates!)
|What participation opportunities are available for Smarter Mobility Africa LIVE?|
Delegate: Get 65% off with our early bird ticket prices, secure your seat now!
|Partner: Exhibit your products or services or sponsors to get exclusive opportunities, click partner to find out more.|
|Speaker: Want to contribute to the conversation?|