Reducing the consistently high cost of logistics in Southern Africa is now a real possibility, thanks to a tried and tested intermodal solution using roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) vessels.
Short-sea shipping is a strong and competitive mode of transportation for intra-regional supply chains. Referring to the movement of cargo by sea over relatively short distances, as opposed to intercontinental cross-ocean deep-sea shipping, it allows for trailers/vehicles to be rolled on and off shipping vessels, reducing the need for cranes and other equipment.
“Considering the challenges of the railway freight network and the high reliance on road transport in the region, moving cargo over short distances by sea offers vast potential in terms of cost savings and higher efficiency,” says William Greig, Chief Executive Officer of Argonaftis Shipping and Trading Ltd (MI).
Proven track record
The operation of Ro-Ro shipping services has been proven around the world. In northern and southern Europe, it is extensively used in a variety of industries. “Ro-Ro shipping represents a maritime segment that could easily form part of a local intermodal transport system, as cargo does not need to be lifted in ports; it is ‘rolled’ to and from the sea. This will address some of the biggest challenges currently facing the logistics sector – including high costs, delays, congested ports and weak road and rail infrastructure,” explains Greig.
Cost-effective, safe and environmentally friendly
Short-sea shipping provides great environmental, social, and economic advantages and plays a key role in sustainable shipping.
“Ro-Ro ferries alleviate cost pressures through economies of scale and increased vehicle utilisation. Operational costs are reduced by the fact that trucks have shorter journeys when 80-90% of the journey is via ferry,” explains Greig. “This therefore substantially reduces usage and general wear and tear on vehicles, which promotes longevity and/or greater re-sale value at the end of the vehicle purchase contract.”
A safer choice
The increasing number of heavy trucks carrying freight over long distances has taken a devastating toll on Southern Africa’s deteriorating road network. While criminals attack trucks and their drivers at designated truck stops, they also intercept trucks along isolated sections of the vast and in parts desolate highway network.
“We can provide journeys that don’t require stops: therefore, drivers and loads are safer using our services. Logistics companies desire it, as their cargo will be at less risk from all the external forces of road haulage over vast distances,” continues Greig.
Another benefit of this mode of shipping is that it offers a more environmentally friendly alternative. Short-sea shipping involves much fewer carbon emissions per tonne. The widespread adoption of short-sea shipping will greatly help to lower the carbon dioxide CO2 footprint of the region.
The solution for Southern Africa, says Greig, is, therefore, to be found in short-sea Ro-Ro shipping. “It will allow shippers to receive goods in a reliable, consistent, and timely manner while providing great economic and environmental benefits. Plans to implement the solution are progressing well with negotiations ongoing with Transnet for vessel berthing slots.”
The project will be rolled out across various ports including Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Maputo (Mozambique) and Walvis Bay (Namibia) over the coming months.
For more information and to register your interest in this exciting new service, go to https://argonaftisshipping.com/south-africa
— Arrive Alive (@_ArriveAlive) November 21, 2022