For the last five years, productivity at our ports has deteriorated, but this year it hit rock bottom. Delays over the last few months have cost the country millions in lost revenue as car manufacturers waited for parts, and citrus meant for across the world sat on the harbour for weeks. Ships fed up with our delays, bypassed the ports. The situation was so desperate that the shipping lines and freight forwarders implored the president to intervene. Now there is a new chief executive in charge of Transnet Port Terminals and she has hit the ground running, but with the country’s export reputation in tatters can she turn this huge state operation around, in time.