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Changes to South Africa’s National Ports Authority

22 June 2021
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On 22 June 2021, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the incorporation of the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) as an independent subsidiary of the State-owned logistics powerhouse, Transnet SOC Ltd (Transnet). A copy of the President’s announcement is available here.

The National Ports Act of 2005 envisages an independent national ports authority, as landlord of South Africa’s commercial shipping ports and responsible for providing port services and facilities. Until now, however, TNPA has been operated as a division of Transnet contrary to the provisions of the Act, which required TNPA to be corporatised ‘as soon as [the Act] takes effect’.

This has led to difficulties in interpreting certain sections of the Act, public perceptions of bias by TNPA in favour of other divisions of Transnet and challenges for organisations such as the Ports Regulator of South Africa to carry out its mandate.

‘This change represents an important step forward in ensuring South Africa’s commercial ports continue to provide globally competitive services and facilities, says Andrew Pike, head of Bowmans’ Ports, Transport and Logistics Sector. ‘We hope that these reforms will enhance port efficiency, competition, turnaround times and provide a better commercial experience for all port users, including shipowners and charterers.’

The Minister of Public Enterprises has been tasked with appointing an interim board by as soon as 30 June 2021 which will oversee the establishment of the new subsidiary.