Supporting Export Competitiveness Through Port and Rail Network Reforms: A Case Study of South Africa

40 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Duncan Pieterse

Duncan Pieterse

Applied Fiscal Research Centre (AFReC) (Pty) Ltd.

Thomas Farole

World Bank

Martin Odendaal

Government of the Republic of South Africa - South Africa National Treasury

Andre Steenkamp

Government of the Republic of South Africa - South Africa National Treasury

Date Written: January 11, 2016

Abstract

Transport and logistics infrastructure is a critical determinant of the competitiveness of a country's producers and exporters. Well-functioning transport and logistics infrastructure relies not just on hardware, but critically on the operating environment that emerges from the interaction between private sector operators; national policies and regulatory regimes; and, in many countries, state-owned owners and operators of core infrastructure. This paper looks at the case of South Africa, where constraints in access, pricing, reliability, and network interfaces, particularly in the port and rail network, are eroding the competitiveness of South African exporters. The paper draws on interviews with a wide range of exporters along with secondary research to examine South Africa's port and rail network, and explores the underlying factors contributing to these constraints, including chronic underinvestment, an inadequate regulatory environment, insufficient private sector participation, and weak regional integration. The paper concludes with a review of the reforms needed to deliver a more broadly accessible and competitive rail and port sector based on international case examples. It highlights the need for institutional reforms to promote competitive pricing; private sector participation to increase investment and improve service delivery; information and coordination to address market failures and improve access; and cooperation to improve intermodal, interregional, and institutional interfaces.

Keywords: Trade Technology and Productivity, Transport Services, Trade Facilitation, Transport and Trade Logistics, Multi Modal Transport

Suggested Citation

Pieterse, Duncan and Farole, Thomas and Odendaal, Martin and Steenkamp, Andre, Supporting Export Competitiveness Through Port and Rail Network Reforms: A Case Study of South Africa (January 11, 2016). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 7532. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2741187

Duncan Pieterse (Contact Author)

Applied Fiscal Research Centre (AFReC) (Pty) Ltd.

7708 Rondebosch
South Africa

Thomas Farole

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Martin Odendaal

Government of the Republic of South Africa - South Africa National Treasury

Pretoria
South Africa

Andre Steenkamp

Government of the Republic of South Africa - South Africa National Treasury

Pretoria
South Africa

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