South Africa had, in times past, by far the best transport infrastructure in Africa; however, declining road conditions, and freight and passenger rail, as well as port capacity shortages and inefficiencies, are now all proving to be a constraint on trade and economic growth. After contributing substantially to the country’s formative development, the rail sector has shown a downward trend for several decades, with a lack of adequate investment, poor management and theft and vandalism all impacting on performance. Meanwhile, the country’s major road corridors are, as a consequence, overly congested, and subjected to overloading, contributing to South Africa’s carbon emissions. The performance of its ports has also declined, compared with other ports on the continent and worldwide, with a recent World Bank analysis highlighting South Africa’s container ports as among the worst performers globally. Government plans to tackle the constraints are in the early stages. Creamer Media's ‘Road, Rail and Ports 2021/22: Towards more private-sector participation’ provides an overview of South Africa’s ongoing investment in road, rail and ports infrastructure, with a particular focus on the size and state of this infrastructure, and the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, as well as the challenges these sectors are facing.
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