IOPSA has noted the media statement from the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF), dated 20 November 2023.



In the statement, SAAFF has detailed the challenges facing the ports and logistics industries in South Africa. The ports are owned and managed by Transnet. According to SAAFF, the current situation is far worse than that experienced during the strike in October 2022.

Due to poor maintenance, equipment breakdowns, material shortages and poor weather conditions, the ports are currently unable to operate at their required capacity. This has led to significant delays, and there are 96 vessels currently at anchor awaiting their turn to enter the ports. This situation has led to losses of more than R26-million per day.

You may wonder, what does this have to do with plumbers?

In October last year we saw huge plumbing material shortages and delays in the market. If SAAFF is correct that this situation is worse than last year, we should expect the same. At this time of year many plumbers are trying to finish off jobs, and delays can be disastrous – especially on large contracts. We urge all plumbers to order their material as soon as possible to try to avoid delays.

We also recommend that plumbers increase their stockholding of important daily items to avoid running out. Furthermore, SAAFF has indicated that the extreme costs of these delays could increase the cost of goods by between 4% to 24.5%. These increases will almost certainly be passed on to the industry in one way or another, so it is quite possible that prices will increase more than expected soon. IOPSA recommends that plumbers contact their suppliers as soon as possible to check on the status of critical materials.

If the past few years have taught us anything, it is that South Africa’s extreme reliance on imported goods leaves us open and vulnerable to forces completely out of our control.

IOPSA has long advocated for the use of locally produced products. The current situation once again illustrates how important local manufacturing is for the country. Not only does it create vital jobs, it stimulates and grows our economy (which is great for everyone); and it allows us, as a country, to be masters of our own destiny. Make no mistake, imports will always play an important role, but without local manufacturing capacity we are at the mercy of the vagaries of the world. So please choose local, the power is in your hands.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all members once again for their continued support during the year. We hope that you and your families have a peaceful break in December. For those who are travelling, please return safely. We look forward to an action-packed 2024.

Image supplied by IOPSA