College of Law and Management Studies

UKZN Maritime Economist, Professor Mihalis Chasomeris, shared his research at the 27th annual conference of the International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME) held in Athens, Greece at the end of June. IAME is agathering of international scholars with an interest in maritime economics, shipping finance and management, ports and maritime logistics, engineering and other maritime related fields.

In keeping with the spirit of the conference of creating partnerships between academia and the maritime sector, Chasomeris co-authored a paper with Mr Mahesh Fakir, Chief Executive Officer of the Ports Regulator South Africa, and one with Mr Sphiwe Mthembu, Transnet National Ports Authority Manager for Marine Operations at the Port of Durban.

Ports Regulation in South Africa: A New Equitable Tax Rate Approach, was the title of the paper co-authored with Fakir. Chasomeris said that it examined theoretical differences in the tax treatment by economic regulators in determining the tariffs of regulated “subsidiaries” or stand-alone companies, as opposed to regulated “divisions” within a group. The results showed that the application of the “equitable tax rate” in port tariff determination in South Africa could result in future annual savings for port users of up to R500m (US$36m), and that R2.6 billion (US$187m) could have been saved, had the methodology been determined at the start of regulation.

The second paper, Examining Productivity of Marine Services in South Africa’s Ports System, was co-authored with Mthembu. It started with a survey of the performance data of Transnet National Ports Authority marine services conducted between 2014 and 2017. The study found that a delay in marine services has a significant impact on shipping and terminal performance. Chasomeris said: ‘The results show that the top five causes of shipping delays were tugs occupied; delay due to change of shifts; shipping movements; tugs out of commission; and adverse weather conditions. Other causes were pilot boat unavailability; overbooking of slots; and port closure due to employee or management meetings.’

Chasomeris and his co-authors are planning to share their research findings with the wider maritime community through publication in academic journals. The next IAME conference will be held in Hong Kong in 2020 and Chasomeris encourages both students and staff interested in maritime studies and international trade or supply chain management and logistics to consider participating.

Words: NdabaOnline
Photograph: Supplied