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BMI View: Bar the country's shipping sector, which is being particularly hindered by weak consumer
demand and declines in coal production, South Africa's freight modes are all expected to post positive
growth in 2016. However, going forward, risks are considerably to the downside. The country's poor
economic outlook, unsustainable structural issues and the depreciation of the rand pose significant
headwinds to overall trade volumes which will, in turn, impact upon the country's various freight modes.
Latest Updates And Forecasts
? We forecast a return to growth in South African road haulage volumes in 2016, but risks to this outlook
are weighted to the downside. Rising unemployment will weigh on the transport of containerised
goods. Nonetheless, road freight is set to be the outperforming freight mode in 2016, with tonnage growth
coming in at 4.6% y-o-y.
? We forecast a return to growth for South African rail freight volumes in 2016, but risks to this outlook are
weighted heavily to the downside given the ongoing issues with electricity generation hampering
manufacturing, rising unemployment holding back private consumption, and a downgrade to our coal
production forecast following news that Anglo Mining is looking to offload some of its assets in the
country. Nonetheless, rail freight volumes will expand by 2.6% to 227.98mn tonnes in 2016.
? Richards Bay, the largest port in terms of gross tonnage throughput, will see volumes decline by 3.2% in
2016 owing to a fall in coal production. Durban, the largest container port in the country, will also see
growth constrained by a weak consumer and ailing manufacturing sector.
? We forecast growth in South African air freight volumes in 2016 to be slow, with the freight mode set to
underperform road and rail. The sector is primarily driven by consumer demand for high-end goods, and
the outlook for this is poor given the rising unemployment in the country. Air freight volumes will grow
by 2.2% in 2016, to reach 1.57mn tonnes.
? 2016 total trade real growth is forecast at 3.5%, while in nominal terms, growth will contract by 15.3% to
USD166.3bn owing primarily to the depreciation of the rand.