South African terminal operator, Transnet Port Terminals (TPT), has announced it will increase tariffs for automotive cargo by almost double the average approved by the country’s port regulator, which stands at 4.8%. The latest increase follows a similar increase of 9.25% last year.

The tariffs, which will come into affect at the beginning of April this year, apply to landing and shipping charges for moving containers of parts or vehicles, as well as finished vehicles, both inbound and outbound.

TPT operates a number of ro-ro terminals in South Africa including South Africa's largest car terminal at the port of Durban (pictured), as well as East London port’s car terminal and the one at Port Elizabeth.

The move has drawn criticism from the car sector, including GM South Africa.

“Port, rail and road freight charges and tariffs in South Africa are already uncompetitive, which means that this additional increase on automotive tariffs levied by Transnet Port Terminals, will place local assemblers at an even greater international disadvantage,” a spokesperson for the carmaker told Automotive Logistics.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen Group South Africa said it was very concerned at the level of the increase imposed by TPT which it described as "substantially above the inflation rate" and something that was a concern in terms of the competitiveness of the industry in a global context.
"The transport port authority increase was only 3.55% in line with the promises of Government and Transnet to work towards reducing costs and increasing competitiveness. However the different business units in Transnet do not appear to work together," said a spokesperson for VW South Africa.
Volkswagen added that it would continue to work with all stakeholders in an attempt to limit inflation increases from the different Transnet divisions.

A spokesperson for TPT said it was reserving immediate comment ahead of the implementation of the tariff.