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African Ports Missing Out on Surge in Conflict-Avoiding Ship Traffic


By: Staff Writer


Logistics experts have highlighted that African ports, including those in Namibia, are failing to capitalise on the increased ship traffic steering clear of attacks by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea.

The continent’s inefficient and ageing ports lack the capacity to accommodate the heightened volumes, experts noted.

“Most ports in Africa are inefficient and not in the best condition to be able to fully realise all the benefits,” said Vinny Licata, Fictiv’s head of logistics.

“This could be a real opportunity for Africa, but several ports were already congested due to inefficiencies. Investments are needed to enable them to compete,” he said.

Currently, Africa contributes only about 6% of global maritime trade, despite relying heavily on sea transport for around 90% of its imports and exports, according to Robert Khachatryan, CEO and Founder of Freight Right Global Logistics.

Namport’s new terminal, inaugurated in 2019, boasts a capacity of 750,000 TEUs per annum and handles bulk and break bulk cargo of up to 10 million tons annually.

The surge in vessel traffic around the southern tip of Africa has increased by 85% since December, when attacks by Iran-backed Houthi terrorists intensified, reported Clarksons Research.

Ports in South Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius, and Namibia have experienced a notable rise in volumes, according to Fictiv.

Freight costs from Asia to the US East Coast are expected to rise by 20% to 30%, with delivery times extended by two weeks due to the longer route around South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, Khachatryan noted.

Strategically positioned ports like Toamasina in Madagascar, Port Louis in Mauritius, and Walvis Bay in Namibia have benefited from the shift in shipping routes, bypassing South Africa’s maritime hubs due to service inadequacies.

James Hill, CEO of MCF Energy, suggested that African policymakers should focus on port-development strategies to enhance both intra-African and international connectivity.

He added, “Even after the conflict in Israel ends, the Gulf’s instability may persist as the Houthis may retaliate against the US, prolonging these benefits.”


– Additional reporting by Mining Weekly.



Staff Writer

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