How Dry Ports Unlock Multi-Modal Advantages

Transport Forum - Presentation from Mike Daniel- RailRunner South Africa

South Africa’s over-reliance on road transport to move freight around the country continues to drive up costs – a situation that could be addressed through the development of dry ports.

Dry ports, said Daniel, had many advantages from faster transport of cargo from seaports to the use of more efficient modes of transport. They also encourage a modal shift from road to other modes such as rail – a goal that the government continues to pursue.

“There are social and environmental benefits of shifting to rail. Reduction in Greenhouse Gas (GHG)emissions through a shift to rail are well documented. By road, 1 litre of fuel can move 25 tons of cargo for one km at an average CO2 emission factor of 62g/ton-km. Using 1 litre of fuel rail can move 86 tons of cargo for one km at an average CO2 emission factor of only 22g/ton-km.”

Daniel said planning and development of freight terminals, freight villages, dry ports, and inland container depots (ICDs) could extend the reach of the rail mode through intermodal services.

“Construction of consolidation centres or dry ports near strategic urban locations can also help reduce the number of freight trips. One example of this is the Freight Construction Consolidation Center in London. Established to consolidate construction freight and minimise construction traffic for building and development, it has resulted in fewer freight trucks and a 75% reduction in CO2 emissions.”

He said there was no doubt that dry ports could change the South African logistics landscape promoting the move to shift cargo off-road to rail, but the location was important considerations.

It was also important to have the support of cargo owners as well as multi-sectoral coordination and communications were necessary to deliver successful projects.

“The development of dry ports, as an important component of intermodal transport, could play a major role in promoting intermodal transport in SADC, including its landlocked countries. By encouraging a modal shift to rail, such dry ports would help to ease road traffic congestion and reduce emissions.”

Daniel said the development of dry ports in deep inland areas, as opposed to near the sea, would move economic development from coastal areas to the hinterland. “These dry ports could grow into economic development zones,” he said.

A more multimodal transport service would also allow for better reconciliation between infrastructure and supply chain management, improving logistics services while reducing transport costs.

“I also believe that dry ports will go a long way in shifting the distribution function from seaport terminals and therefore reducing seaport capacity constraints.”

Daniel emphasised the need for a modal shift in the country to address inefficiency and cost saying the facilitation of a shift to rail would ultimately add more value for cargo owners.

Related News Articles