Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

Freight rail company Transnet has announced the implementation of urgent interventions to tackle backlogs at the Port of Durban and alleviate congestion at Richards Bay.

In Durban, more than 60 vessels are currently anchored, awaiting processing, while in Richards Bay, truck queues have caused traffic congestion extending up to 10 kilometers.

Challenges and Causes:
Transnet attributes the backlog to various factors, including adverse weather conditions and equipment availability issues at the port. Andile Sangqu, Transnet’s Board Chairperson, highlighted the complexity of the port congestion issue, noting that years of underinvestment in equipment and maintenance contributed to the current situation.

Sangqu acknowledged the necessity for substantial measures, cautioning that the resolution process would take time due to lead times ranging from 12 to 18 months for some equipment.

Interventions and Plans:
Transnet has already incurred losses amounting to R160 million since September, and the ongoing situation poses a risk of further financial impact.

To address the backlog, Sangqu outlined the following interventions:

  • At Pier 2, Transnet aims to increase container handling from 2,500 to 4,000 containers per day over the next three months. Under normal conditions, Pier 2 handles 3,300 containers daily, but challenges have reduced this to 2,500 in recent weeks.
  • At Pier 1, the container handling pace will rise from 1,200 to 1,500 containers per day.

Despite these efforts, the average berthing delay currently stands at 18 days, with an increasing number of ships joining the queue. Transnet anticipates that it will take approximately 15 weeks to clear the existing backlog at the ports.

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