US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is currently visiting South Africa this week; this is her second visit since being appointed into the position by President Obama. The visit shines a spotlight on the US-South Africa relations, continuing the commitment to further economic cooperation. China is South Africa’s largest trading partner however; America is by far South Africa’s largest export destination. According to US government statistics, American imports from South Africa reached $9.5 billion in 2011.
Although ocean container trade continues to dominate throughout the industry, the importance of cargo ranging from raw materials to finished heavy machinery cannot be underestimated. Exporting raw materials requires bulk and break bulk vessels. Despite a booming break bulk and heavy-lift market in Africa, transporting project cargo across border choke points continues to seriously challenge cargo movement in many regions of sub-Saharan Africa.
Significant infrastructure investment is required to address the rising global demand for export volumes from South Africa. These are the major opportunities for South Africa’s economic growth in coming years and private sector involvement in rail and port facilities is required to meet the forecasted demand. There are big opportunities for U.S. companies to increase sales in Africa to help build roads, agribusiness, power and alternative energy. Improvements to ports and roads can only help improve Africa’s trade; better roads and storage facilities would reduce crop spoilage, bring more crops to market.
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