SA road transport ‘not looking good’ – Mike Schussler

Economist Mike Schussler Source: Eugene Goddard

Since transport vigilantes had started torching trucks on leading roads at least 1 400 trucks had either been burnt or shot at, economist Mike Schussler told delegates attending the Transport Forum in Johannesburg earlier today.

“Last weekend alone, in one day 17 trucks were set alight with one trucker getting so badly burned after he was fire-bombed that he’s fighting for his life in hospital.”

What makes these attacks so bad, Schussler stressed to the eclectic gathering of logistics representatives, was that the N3 carried around 80% of South Africa’s road freight and the global freight industry was beginning to take real notice of how local authorities seemed to be backed into a corner.

“What we have right now is a crisis and the road transport industry is under a lot of pressure.”

To make matters worse, Schussler pointed out, was that global trade was in a tight spot, with numbers down across the board.

With world trade currently sitting at growth of around 2.5%, South Africa’s economy barely managing 1%, and local GDP stats released earlier this week sketching an even bleaker picture, “our leaders need to catch a wake up very quickly before it’s too late”.

With apparent references to utterances made recently by ANC secretary general Ace Magashule, and taking as wide a look as possible, Schussler warned that politicians seemed to be over-relying on Chinese investment in Africa, hoping that it would be a panacea for our economic ills.

“The fact of the matter is that China’s corporate debt sits at 150% of its GDP, so that’s going to have an effect. Although there was a slight uptick in commodities, the numbers are already going down again and it’s not looking great for South Africa, a country that essentially relies on commodity exports.”

Addressing an event where speaker after speaker raised warning flags about developments around South Africa’s logistics sector, particularly considering port-side improvements in Walvis Bay and Maputo, Schussler’s take on the dire situation in which road haulage finds itself echoed the views of his lectern peers.

To put it in a nutshell – “it’s not looking good!”


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