The paper begins with a broad contextual overview of the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC’s) transport and logistics performance in terms of the Logistics Performance Index and tracks the performance of individual member states in the decade from 2007. Two interesting findings emerge. First that the better performing SADC member states have been improving their logistics performance over time while the worst performing states have seen their performance decrease and deteriorate since 2007. The second interesting (and controversial) finding is that improved logistics service and operations is viewed as more important than additional investments in infrastructure in the region.
The paper then identifies the cross-cutting logistics issues collated from a literature review, a small sample of interviews with logistics firms operating in the region, completed value chain reports from the Regional Value Chain Project (see www.competition.org.za/regional-value-chains), SADC documentation, and finally the tradebarriers.org website, a Tripartite Community – comprising Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (ECA) and SADC and Member States – initiative to report, monitor and eliminate NTB complaints.
A key finding of the paper is that from an economic perspective it is the standing time of trucks stationary at border posts which is the most powerful explanatory variable of SADC’s high transport costs and low logistics competitiveness. The research suggests that standing time is largely due to border post management issues rather than the commonly assumes infrastructure constraints.