While recent years have seen significant investments into mining projects andÂ pit-to-port infrastructureÂ inÂ Africa, there remains a glaring deficiency inÂ bulk ore transport systemsÂ on the continent, which cannot exclusively be resolved by investment injections,Â KPMGÂ Global Infrastructure advisory inÂ AfricaÂ headÂ De BuysÂ ScottÂ asserts.
DescribingÂ Africaâ€™s mineralÂ transportÂ challenge as twofold, he said in a statement on Wednesday that there was â€œtoo muchâ€ bulk stock in a single region or country that did not have a direct line from pit-to-port, the establishment of which would require complex cross-border deals.
â€œMultiparty commitments were required to ensureÂ optimum infrastructure solutionsÂ are developed.
â€œOn the other hand, we are also faced with regions or countries where the volumes of resources that are being extracted from the mines arenâ€™t large enough to justify a business case for investment in largeÂ transportÂ infrastructure development,â€Â ScottÂ commented.
WSPÂ Civil and Structural Engineers COOÂ Darrin GreenÂ further noted that the bulk of logistics-associated infrastructure, particularlyÂ pit-to-port rail solutions, were driven and implemented by resources companies, which presented a â€œcomplicatedâ€ divergence of government requirements for social reform and the objectives of these companies.
â€œAt the end of the day, no amount ofÂ financeÂ and innovation is enough to get a pit-to-port project out of the pipeline and onto the ground without government engagement and transparent partnership, as infrastructure projects are long-term investments,â€Â Scottconcluded.
According toÂ Ruckus WirelessÂ regional sales directorÂ Michael Fletcher, seaÂ transportÂ was â€œusuallyâ€ the most economical way to move bulk stock, but this relied on the existence of efficient harbours and ports on the continent.
He asserted that there was a global trend for ports to become more involved in value-added activities, such as cargo processing and logistics, as there was an increasing need to improve the efficiency of pit-to-port turnover worldwide.
â€œExact positioning and tracking of all containers is, therefore, key. But, to optimally do so, connectivity and reliable connectivity is essential. As such, having access to a reliable connection allows logistic managers to obtain and manage container, crane and vehicle information in real time, which significantly optimises the entire chain process,â€ Fletcher held.
Dariel Solutions executive directorÂ Greg VercellottiÂ added that this would require mining companies, ports and harbours to acknowledge and adapt to newÂ and innovative technologies.