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Poor weather, frequent equipment failures and shortages, and traffic jams all affected port operations. This week’s import collections seizure in Cape Town put operational performance in the spotlight. At the same time, activities on the landside were significantly hampered by the lack of equipment in Durban. The floating crane in Durban is still not accessible for reservations this week, and the Durban and Richards Bay helicopters are also not operational. While the shore tensioner and the mooring master were in use at berths D100 and D101 for the majority of the week, crane QC1 at NCT was given an approximate time of return of September 7, 2023. The requirement to submit declarations to customs has recently been enforced for over-border rail containers, which has resulted in longer dwell periods.

Key Notes:

  • An average of ~6 646 containers was handled per day, with ~9 082 containers projected for next week.
  • Rail cargo handled out of Durban amounted to 2 194 containers, ↓6% compared to last week.
  • SARS merchandise trade (July): exports (↑4,6%, m/m), imports (↓7,6%); YTD surplus: R16 billion.
    Cross-border queue times were ↓1,4 hours (w/w), with transit times ↑0,1 hours (w/w); SA borders decreased by ~20 minutes, averaging ~9,9 hours (↓3%); Other SADC borders averaged ~8,0 hours (↑3%).
  • Global freight rates decreased by ↓1,6% (or $28) to $1 740 per 40-ft container, as GRIs will likely end.
  • Global air cargo (CTKs) is down by ↓3,4% (y/y) in June 2023 and continues to narrow the deficit gap.

Port operations – General:

  • Port operations were characterised by poor weather conditions, frequent equipment breakdowns and shortages, and congestion.
  • Operational performance took centre stage in Cape Town this week as import collections were seized for an entire day.
  • At the same time, equipment availability in Durban proved to be a significant stumbling block to operations on the landside.
  • The Durban and Richards Bay helicopters remain out of commission, while the floating crane in Durban was still unavailable for bookings this week.
  • Crane QC1 at NCT received an estimated time of return of 07 September 2023, while the shore tensioner and the Mooring master were in operation at berths D100 and D101 for most of the week.
  • Additionally, a massive change has recently been implemented for over-border rail containers, as declarations now need to be submitted to customs, leading to increased dwell times.

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