South Africa Hamstrung by Supply Chain Constraints

By Freddie Pierce
Supply chain industry leader Barloworld Logistics has released findings indicating that South Africa might lose its status as the most porous entry poi...

Supply chain industry leader Barloworld Logistics has released findings indicating that South Africa might lose its status as the most porous entry point into the continent if it doesn’t confront its severe constraints.  And although the report makes clear that it’s past time for a change, it also stresses how much business owners stand to gain.

“The research showed clearly a shift in global economic power towards emerging market economies,” said Barloworld Marketing VP Kate Stubbs.  “This shift should present South African businesses with a significant opportunity to capture market share.”

South African companies, she emphasized, “need to understand the threats and opportunities present for industry and the national supply chain in other African markets.”

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Historically the most convenient and well-developed corridor to trade on the continent, South Africa faces mounting competition from the muscular likes of Nigeria and Egypt – whose aggressive infrastructure advances and economic heft make them strong rivals.

Considering the strong interest in Africa emerging from the global supply chain community, it’s a battle worth winning.  And yet South African businesses are laboring under antiquated logistical conditions, with the cost of transport in particular drawing the ire of industry leaders.  The economic hub of Gauteng, in a crucial example, is almost 400 miles from the closest port – forcing companies to shell out the added transit cost just to do business.

Barloworld strategist Clem Sunter struck an I Ching-like note in his remarks on South Africa’s prospects: “The only one thing businesses could be certain about during the year is that almost all aspects of the business environment are changing,” he said.

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