Editor's Letter

Business as usual?

greg simpson.jpeg

Welcome to another edition of South Africa’s favourite trucking and logistics quarterly, it has certainly been a busy time since we last touched base. It goes without saying that the political insecurity, which our great land finds itself in has done nothing for the greater logistics industry, rather putting more fear into would-be investors, who can easily go elsewhere for less risky options.

I’ll never forget a priceless quote from a leading mining personality I interviewed that sums up doing business in developing economies. In South America they lay out the red carpet for foreign investment at the airport, while in SA, they lay out the red tape.

It would appear that SA is an economy that is being held back. When the political games quieten down for a month or two, the rand strengthens, fuel prices drop and property goes up in value in prime areas. It reminds me of a slumlord that lets his block of flats go to rack and ruin, reducing the value of neighbouring property. As soon as the price hits rock bottom, he or she buys up the neighbouring property.

The biggest losers are the people of SA, who are left to deal with rising food, fluctuating fuel prices and unemployment. The best economic years SA has enjoyed since the fall of apartheid were under Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. Both were astute leaders, who said nothing without careful thought, seldom putting the reputation and economy of this great nation at serious risk. Thankfully our judicial system is still strong enough to fight off corruption.

The problem also lies with the business men and women who front the money for the bribe in the first place. In the UK, the briber gets twice the sentence of the person who received the payoff.

But it is certainly not all doom and gloom. The mining industry picked up in 2017, which is always good for the logistics sector. The bus sector continues to perform well with more money being pumped into public transport on the back of successful bus rapid transit (BRT) programmes in the major centres, which are continually looking to expand their routes. OEM truck assembly is ticking over nicely, with a better relationship between labour and management forming.

So as we look into the future, it certainly is business as usual, as the industry tries its best to block out the negative sentiments and perceived turmoil, rather focusing on what South Africans do best: getting the job done, first time, every time.

 

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