This paper provides a comparative analysis of logistics performance globally with that of South Africa and refers specifically to the cost of logistics. Transport costs are by far the single most important contributor but time in transit is also an important performance indicator, along with efficient warehousing, smooth customs clearance, appropriate infrastructure, track and trace functionality, to name but a few. The findings of various research studies done in South Africa and globally by the World Bank are analysed to understand how logistics and supply chain management can assist local companies with improving competitiveness. The public sector in South Africa has responded well to the imperatives of efficient supply chains and examples of official strategies and published policies are briefly discussed. One such policy under consideration is to move freight from road to rail and the typical characteristics of rail-friendly and road-friendly freight are discussed as well as the use of logistics hubs and inland intermodal terminals in an attempt to move freight from road to rail. The paper covers logistics and the supply chain of the future with some comments on disruptive technologies that may challenge our thinking of the way forward. Logistics and supply chain management are shown to be indeed useful enablers for improving competitiveness.
Papers presented at the 36th Southern African Transport Conference, CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa on 10-13 July 2017.