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This week’s port operations were mostly hampered by the extreme weather and ongoing equipment malfunctions. At the beginning of the week, the Port of Cape Town had windbound conditions for almost 40 hours in a row, while Durban’s primary operational issues were rain and equipment malfunctions. During the first part of the week, NCT was windbound for about fifteen hours, and the helicopter’s outage caused a two-hour delay in a vessel movement in Richards Bay. Only two tugs were in operation for the morning shift on Tuesday, and three of the tugs had engine issues, indicating that TNPA in Durban was facing significant difficulties with their tugs earlier this week. For the first time in several weeks, our rail network saw widespread cable theft towards the end of the week, which caused a six-hour delay in service. A ground-breaking public-private partnership between TFR and JSE-listed Sasol aims to improve the reliability of South African rail transportation, namely fixing 128 ammonia tankers.

Key Notes:

  • An average of ~7 804 containers was handled per day, with ~8 346 containers projected for next week.
  • Cross-border queue times were ↑0,3 hours (w/w), with transit times ↑4,0 hours (w/w); SA borders increased slightly by ~0,7 hours, averaging ~12,7 hours (↑6%); Other SADC borders averaged ~8,5 hours (↑102%).
  • SARS trade stats show that South Africa recorded a full-year total trade balance surplus of R62,2 billion.
  • Global freight rates have again decreased this week – by ↓4,5% (or $166) to $3 493 per 40-ft container.
  • IATA shows total cargo tonne-kilometers reached 67,3 billion in Q3 of 2023, only ↓0,7% versus 2019.

Port operations – General:

  • Port operations this week were primarily impacted by severe weather conditions and persisting
    equipment breakdowns.
  • The Port of Cape Town went windbound for more than 40 consecutive hours at the start of the
    week, while rain and equipment breakdowns represented the main operational challenges in
  • NCT was windbound for approximately 15 hours during the early parts of the week, while a
    vessel movement in Richards Bay was delayed for at least two hours due to the helicopter being
    out of commission.
  • TNPA in Durban experienced extensive challenges with their tugs earlier this week, as only two
    tugs were in service for the morning shift on Tuesday, and three of the tugs had engine
  • Towards the end of the week, our rail network fell victim to extensive cable theft for the first
    time in weeks, which delayed operations for approximately six hours.
  • TFR and JSE-listed Sasol have announced a groundbreaking public-private partnership aimed at
    enhancing the dependability of South African rail transportation, notably repairing 128
    ammonia tankers.

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