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Multimodal Inland Port Association Launched

The South African logistics sector recently witnessed a significant milestone with the launch of the Multimodal Inland Port Association (Mipa). Established by leading transportation entities, Mipa aims to act as a unified voice for inland ports across the nation. Their primary focus will be on promoting, supporting, and advocating for increased cargo movement from road to rail.

Mipa’s launch coincided with the latest Transport Forum, where industry experts addressed over 250 delegates on current trends impacting the sector. Warwick Lord, chairman of Mipa, emphasized the urgency of transporting more cargo via rail due to rising logistics costs in South Africa. He highlighted that this shift is no longer optional but a necessity.

The association uses multiple strategies to accomplish its objectives. First and foremost, they want to invest in the private sector to improve the rail system. Second, their intention is to promote trade operations that are in line with social goals. Lastly, making it easier for cargo to go from the road to the train is their main goal.

Leading names in the transportation industry, such as the Tambo Springs Development Company, Cape Town Inland Port, and Cato Ridge Inland Port, are gathered under MIPA. With an emphasis on private sector engagement with the government and state-owned companies, the group is dedicated to working together on best practices.

“We aim to create a unified voice for inland ports, driving workable multimodal solutions that deliver efficiency, cost reduction, and much-needed resilience to the South African supply chain,” said Lord. He emphasized that achieving this will mitigate the impact of external shocks and ensure stability within the logistics sector.

Mipa’s strategy to move more cargo to rail involves utilizing innovative multi-nodal technology and fostering better collaboration with other freight hubs and stakeholders. This will optimize supply chain links and create a more efficient system.

“Inland ports increase accessibility through long-distance transport corridors, leading to lower distribution costs and improved capacity by consolidating freight volumes,” explained Lord. He further elaborated on the role of these multimodal terminals in handling large cargo volumes continuously. This capability allows seaports to extend their cargo base, which is crucial given the increasing size of modern vessels.

In addition to these benefits, inland ports offer dedicated logistics developments, proximity to rail and highways, ample truck parking, and reduced traffic congestion. Lord emphasized that the association is dedicated to promoting sustainable practices and facilitating free trade. Mipa will play a crucial role in ensuring its members comply with sustainable development goals and the SADC Vision 2050.

Juanita Maree, CEO of the South African Association of Freight Forwarders, acknowledged that the logistics network is at a critical juncture, with more collaboration across the country than ever before. She stressed the importance of working together to achieve significant advancements. Maree highlighted that continuous dialogue, knowledge sharing, and awareness creation are essential for building a sustainable supply chain for the future.

Looking ahead, Mipa seeks to expand its membership across the logistics sector. Lord acknowledged the vital role the business community plays in developing and facilitating trade within the logistics and supply chain environment. The association plans to leverage these channels to lobby warehousing, transport, and consulting businesses to join Mipa.

Mipa recognizes the significance of state-owned enterprises and aims to include them in their endeavors. They also plan to foster a close working relationship with the government. By incorporating various stakeholders, Mipa is well-positioned to make a significant impact on the South African logistics landscape.

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