• According to the W120 services classification, transport services include maritime transport services; internal water ways transport services; air transport services; space transport; rail transport, road transport, pipeline transport and services auxiliary to all modes of transport.

    Transport services in the SADC region are characterized by relatively high cost in all modes of transport; which is partly caused by under-developed infrastructure; operational and management challenges; and limited market competition. To overcome these challenges, SADC Member States agreed on several measures under the Protocol on Transport, Communication and Meteorology aimed at developing efficient, cost-effective and fully integrated infrastructure and operations, which best meet the needs of customers and promote economic and social development while being environmentally and economically sustainable.

    Air transport services in SADC are characterised by state-owned operations and small national markets and the inter-regional market is dominated by South African Airways, providing connection services to all SADC capitals. Most of the national airlines are constrained by limited financial and management capacities, as well as market restrictions that limit their expansion programmes. Competition in the industry is limited to international scheduled flights mainly by national flag carriers and prices are controlled by market forces. The Protocol on Transport, Communication and Meteorology encourages involvement of private sector, emphasize on the need to restructure state owned enterprises and the integration of regional system through compatible policies and legislation. SADC together with COMESA and EAC decided to pursue liberalization of air transport services based on AU Yamoussoukro Decision on Open Sky 1999, by establishing a Joint Competition Authority (JCA) which started its operation through a temporary Secretariat hosted at SADC as of May 2011. Click here or here to access the report on implementation of YD and other decisions in the tripartite area. With the exception of computer reservation systems, aircraft repair and maintenance services, and the selling and marketing of air transport services, air transport services are excluded from the scope of the SADC Protocol on trade in Services.

    Rail transport: SADC countries have well established rail networks with inter-regional connections in the mainland SADC countries most of which were constructed during the colonial era, comprising of about 13 operating which account for 43% of Railway network in Africa of which 11% are missing link to other lines (Africa Review Report on Transport by UNECA, 2009). Just like any other economies in the world, the rail transport sector is experiencing declining number of passengers as well as cargo freight services.  Also the region is constrained in expansion of rail networks both domestic and inter-regional networks due to differences in standards, technology and capital investment requirement etc. SADC countries have agreed under the Protocol on Transport, Communication and Meteorology chapter 7; to harmonise standards, separate operations from regulations as well as adopt policies that promote commercialization of operations and allow enhanced operational synergy, promote competition and private sector investment in the sector.

    There have been a lot of reforms in the sector for the past decade, in which case some railway operations are concessional or corporatized in efforts to create autonomous operations. However, outside of South Africa, railway services both for passenger and freight transportation are supplied by government-controlled or mandated monopolies. For more information on railway operations in the region download SADC Railways Revitalization Policy Dialogue by SATH, 2011

    Road transport services in SADC plays a pivotal role in distribution of goods to and from the region. It is estimated that about 90% of the cargo flow into and out of the region, is carried by road and transport accounts for about 5% of GDP in some SADC countries. Through the Protocol on Transport Communication and Meterology, a number of agreements for example recognition of drivers license, road user charges, 3rd party motor vehicle insurance, infrastructure development corridors, axle load limits, etc. aimed at facilitating cross boarder road transport services have been made.  A further programme on market liberalization is under way.

    Maritime transport services: Maritime transport services include access to port facilities, auxiliary services and ocean transport. It is estimated that about maritime transport accounts for 92% of Africa's international trade. The Africa Review Report on Transport by UNECA, 2009, explains that there are about 90 major ports in Africa which handle 6% of the global traffic. However, and 50% of African container traffic is handled by 6 ports; 3 of which are in South Africa and 3 in Egypt. There are 15 major ports in SADC handling about 95% of all trade to the region. Follow this link http://ports.com/browse/africa/, for list of ports in Africa. Most of the ports in SADC are owned by the state, and operated by private companies.Foreign enterprises are allowed to run the operations in some countries. Port services liberalization in the region  varies from country to country, for example while Tanzania does not restrict the number of port services providers and does not discriminate port facility users i.e. carriers, Namibia allows only two enterprises to provide port facilities. 

    Chapter 8 of SADC Protocol on Transport, Communication and Meteorology provides a framework for regional cooperation in maritime transport services (in high seas and inland water ways). The objective of the chapter on maritime transport services is to promote the economic and social development of the region by developing and implementing harmonized international and regional transport policies in respect of the high seas and inland waterways. Also, the Protocol provides for bilateral agreements between and among Member States, on utilization and development of inland waterways.

    Pipeline transport services in the region are provided by state-owned entities while in other countries there are privately owned pipelines, operating in gas and fuel transportation market segments. Apart from Tazama which is jointly owned by two states (Tanzania and Zambia), there is no cross-border pipeline transport services in the region.

    Classification of Transport