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This update – the 40th of its kind – contains a consolidated overview of the South African supply chain and the current state of international trade. There has been another noticeable increase in newly reported COVID-19 infections in South Africa for the third straight week, averaging approximately 3 568 infections per day this week (↑26% from last week’s average of 2 822). The total number of cases recorded in the country now stands at ~1,65 million6, with a death toll of 56 170 (up by 602). South Africa remains in 21st place in absolute terms globally, as more than 169 million cases have now been recorded worldwide. A total of 1,8 billion vaccines have now been administered on the vaccination front as global rollouts continue to accelerate.

Consequently, approximately ~23%7 of the world’s population has now been administered at least one vaccine shot. According to the same source, South Africa has now issued ~700 000 vaccine doses after some conflicting numbers reported last week. Whatever the case, the number remains alarmingly low, and citizens are increasingly nervous. There is a desperate need to accelerate the rollout programme.

Our local maritime industry experienced another eventful week, although not always for the better. Despite some improved productivity figures reported – giving rise to some optimism around the numbers – several operational caveats remain. These included insufficient equipment and breakdowns in Cape Town and Durban, a security matter or two, and a fire breaking out in Durban harbour. Also, the third wave of the pandemic is now sweeping through our maritime industry, as all ports reported positive cases causing distress among the workforces. As we saw last year, this can easily lead to deteriorating performance. Lastly, as previously reported in our weekly updates, there has been some dialogue regarding the poor ratings assigned to our ports globally.

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