Critique – South Africa’s Emerging Rail Policy Environment: From Misguided Liberalisation to Funding Imperatives

Critique – South Africa’s Emerging Rail Policy Environment: From Misguided Liberalisation to Funding Imperatives




Critique – South Africa’s Emerging Rail Policy Environment: From Misguided Liberalisation to Funding Imperatives


The following paper focuses on the freight railway system in South Africa in relation to market demand. Focus on this particular subject is based on the positive impacts that freight transport contributes to the overall economy in South Africa. However, the author extends this concern by focusing primarily on the shortcomings of the freight railway particularly regarding its inability to capture the domestic intermodal sector. As an outcome, the author’s argument perceives the current policies as limitations towards the existing demerits facing South Africa’s freight railway system. This claim is specifically based on a comparative analysis carried out by the author on the American freight transport system and its success in capturing the domestic intermodal market in the U. S. As such, the paper establishes certain factors responsible for South Africa’s failure in the same. Specifically, the deficiency of a nationwide vision based on the responsibilities of the main modes within the freight transport sector has been established by the author as a contributory factor to its inability in capturing the local market.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The paper mainly discusses the freight transport system in South Africa and its inability to appeal to the domestic intermodal market. One of the strengths of the paper is that it offers a firm understanding of the economic effects of the South African freight transport system. Since the paper establishes an argument that could be seen as more of a complaint, it facilitates its rationality by providing evidence indicating the lack of financial maximization on the part of the government. In this respect, the paper points out the specific factor affecting the freight railway sector. Another strength characterizing the paper involves focus on the strategy placed by the government in order to take care of underlying issue. Apart from solely focusing on the negative aspect of the freight transport system, the paper also ensures that it provides an economic model that will actually assist in ensuring that the respective national framework that integrates the forces of supply and demand in order to determine the role of the South African freight transport system.

However, a major weakness of the paper involves its deficiency in addressing the actual problem facing the transport community in the South African society. From the reader’s perspective, the paper specifically focuses on the economic attributes and effects of the present freight transport model. For economists, the paper may offer a fair insight into the shortcomings of the nation’s transport structure specifically on the economy. However, for majority of the usual audience, the paper is complicated significantly and condensed with high levels of information that are either too tedious to follow through or simply difficult to understand. By failing to address the main problem, the paper complicates its significance to the majority of South Africa’s population who are considerably interested in public policies designed to ensure that the nation’s freight transport system gratifies their specific transportation needs and preferences.

Policy Issue or Economic Model

This particular discourse on the South African freight transport system concentrates on the effects of sub-standard policy on the economic performance of this particular framework. Specifically, the paper notes that the issues facing the freight transport system are induced by the insufficiency of a national vision and its reducing effect on the country’s logistics network. As such, reform is needed in order to ensure that the transport system is effective and capable of addressing the various challenges it faces. Moreover, the proposal of new reforms are aimed at alleviating the South African freight transport system from decades of challenges inflicted on it by previous policies such as sub-optimization and a considerable decline in the service quality of the end-user.

Lesson Learnt

The freight transport system may serve as an important economic factor for any country based on the way it is managed. As such, governments are required to establish an imperative and leading role in ensuring that their transport frameworks are effective. In addition, they need to address the challenges imposed on their transport systems by assessing past policies and revising them in order to ensure that the transport system is flexible enough to adhere to the demands of the contemporary society and the dynamic changes taking place within it.

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