A draft Freight Management Strategy to ensure that freight transport within Cape Town is safe and efficient, serves the needs of the economy without compromising the access and mobility of other road users, and that freight operators comply with regulations, is available for public comment.

‘Our local and regional economy is based on global trade and depends largely on the efficient road-based transport of cargo to and from the port, airport and between cities and towns. The City is responsible for the provision of a safe, efficient and reliable road network. We must, however, also take into consideration the significant impact that road-based freight has on the city’s roads and the urban environment. Counting among the effects are carbon emissions, congestion and road accidents. Furthermore, the cost of maintenance of our roads amounts to R713 million per year – a cost that is currently not equitably divided between freight vehicles, public transport, and private motor vehicles,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member: Transport for Cape Town, Councillor Brett Herron.

While there is a need to preserve the current existing infrastructure, the City is also under obligation to plan ahead for future freight growth.

‘New road infrastructure is costly and takes years to construct. We must respond to the predicted growth in road-based freight, in part with new infrastructure, but also by improving the location of the main logistics centres, warehousing, depots and distribution centres across the city so that freight operators can reduce the number of trips needed. Then, we also have to ensure that future generations do not pay inequitably for the cost associated with the current unsustainable use of Cape Town’s road infrastructure,’ said Councillor Herron.

In order to address these challenges, Transport for Cape Town, the City’s transport authority, has developed a Freight Management Strategy in accordance with the National Land Transport Act.

The Freight Management Strategy is partly informed by the City’s Transport Development Index (TDI) which was developed last year to evaluate the accessibility and related costs of transport to different income groups and users across the city.

The TDI has established that:

• the direct transport cost (fuel, salaries, maintenance and repairs, toll fees, etc.) for freight operators is R1,755 billion per annum

• the cost of congestion for freight operators is R121 million per annum

• the cost of safety is R19 million per annum

• the cost of crime is R15 million per annum

• the impact of freight transporters on Cape Town’s residents in terms of accidents is R930 million per annum

• the impact of freight transporters on the city’s road network (capital expenditure and maintenance) is R713 million per annum

In addition, last year TCT also conducted a status quo assessment of freight transport which revealed that:

• there is significant growth in road-based freight along Cape Town’s major roads due to the growth in fast moving consumer goods worldwide

• rail’s share of freight has dramatically declined

• the Port of Cape Town, the major generator of freight, has expansion plans to roughly triple its current container handling services in the next 20 years

• overloading of freight vehicles has a significant impact on the road network, leading to roads deteriorating prematurely

• the city’s roads are congested for many hours of the day and freight transport exacerbates the situation

• overloading and freight-related transgressions are not adequately addressed, penalties are low and self-regulation is rarely embraced

• noise and air pollution from freight operations are reason for concern

• the transportation of dangerous goods (hazardous materials) is uncontrolled and insufficiently regulated

‘The draft strategy proposes certain interventions to reduce the impact of road-based freight on our urban environment. Two things are very clear: rail must be part of the plan and secondly, we will have to implement innovative solutions to reduce the overall cost of doing business in Cape Town,’ said Councillor Herron.

The strategy will focus on the following, among others:

• The transportation of dangerous goods – a wide range of dangerous cargo such as fuels, industrial gases, agricultural chemicals and refrigerants share the roads with commuter traffic, with few restrictions on specific routes and times of travel. As such, TCT will recommend measures for a more efficient and safe movement of dangerous goods through the city

• Overloading – the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research estimates that overloading causes up to 60% of all road damage. TCT will investigate the possibility of using weigh-in-motion devices that are designed to capture and record heavy vehicle axle weights and gross vehicle weights as they drive over a sensor

• Congestion – much of the freight moving to and from Cape Town is transported along the N1, N2 and N7 and currently up to 20% of the vehicles on the N1 are heavy vehicles. TCT will facilitate efficient freight movement through optimising existing road infrastructure, dedicated freight routes and promoting off-peak or night-time deliveries and operations

• Freight demand – TCT will investigate the potential benefits of consolidated and relocated distribution centres and warehousing across the city • Road safety – between 2009 and 2013, up to 177 accidents involved freight vehicles. TCT will attempt to reduce the number of accidents through a review of the existing road infrastructure and the location of truck stops and staging areas

• Freight emissions and air quality – transport accounts for one quarter of greenhouse gas emissions in Cape Town and contributes substantially to air pollution. TCT will set emissions standards and penalties for non-compliance for various categories of freight and establish a testing regime to check and enforce compliance

TCT has, over the last two years, liaised with Cape Town’s Chamber of Commerce, the SA Shippers Council, Transnet Freight Rail, the Transnet Ports Authority, Transnet Port Operators, the Airports Company of South Africa and many of the major logistics companies and retailers during the development of the strategy.

‘It is our intention to liaise with them and other stakeholders again during the upcoming participation process to address any concerns, proposals and comments relating to the draft strategy. I would also like to encourage the public and interested parties to please read the draft document and to air their views. We do not have all of the answers and would value input and comments to assist us in refining the strategy,’ said Councillor Herron.

The draft strategy will be available at libraries, subcouncil offices and on the City’s website at www.capetown.gov.za/haveyoursay from 19 February until 23 March 2016 when the public participation process will be concluded.