President Jacob Zuma says it is heartening to see some African countries taking a keen interest in developing their port infrastructure.

He was addressing the Terminal Operators’ Conference in Durban. It’s the first time that this major maritime industry conference is being held in Africa.

Zuma says countries like Angola, Kenya, Nigeria and Mozambique have the potential to become global players in trade and logistics.

He says, however, that over the last few decades the trend has been for Africa not to invest in its transport infrastructure.

“Over the past few decades the Sub Saharan Africa container market has been challenged by the slow development of quality infrastructure. This in turn has broadly resulted in underdevelopment and long ship waiting times in comparison to other port systems around the world.”

Transnet Group CEO Siyabonga Gama says the state-owned entity is positioning itself to be the leading service provider in Sub-Saharan Africa, and wants to be at the forefront of African regional integration.

Gama has called for regional co-operation in transport and logistics.

“We have done numerous studies in terms of the bottlenecks and constraints which retard the continent and regional economic integration. We must now move beyond the studies and execute the many business plans that lie in many cupboards around the African continent.”