Cargo dwell time in Durban : lessons for Sub-Saharan African ports
Based on quantitative and qualitative data, this paper attempts to identify the main reasons why cargo dwell time in Durban port has dramatically reduced in the past decade to a current average of 3-4 days. A major customs reform; changes in port storage tariffs coupled with strict enforcement; massive investments in infrastructure and equipment; and changing customer behavior through contractualization between the port operator and shipping lines or between customs, importers, and brokers have all played a major role. The main lesson for Sub-Saharan Africa that can be drawn from Durban is that cargo dwell time is mainly a function of the characteristics of the private sector, but it is the onus of public sector players, such as customs and the port authority, to put pressure on the private sector to make more efficient use of the port and reduce cargo dwell time.
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