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The most common features of port operations throughout the past week have been bad weather, shortages and equipment malfunctions, and internal traffic jams. Over 24 operational hours were lost over the week due to strong winds in Cape Town. Due to the fact that over 60,000 TEUs were stranded at the outer anchorage on Tuesday, October 31, Durban is the only port in South Africa that is currently under a “Port congestion watch.” Crane 3 at GCT was still being worked on by the technical team for hoist rope repairs at the end of the week, and it was anticipated that it will be back in operation sometime this weekend. Over the preceding weekend, there were occasional instances of cable theft on the rail network, which resulted in minor delays.

Key Notes:

  • An average of ~6 710 containers was handled per day, with ~8 408 containers projected for next week.
  • Rail cargo handled out of Durban amounted to 2 325 containers for the week, ↓5% (w/w).
    SARS merchandise trade (September): exports ↓3,3% (m/m), imports (↓3,8%); YTD surplus: R43 billion.
  • Cross-border queue times were unchanged, with transit times ↑0,3 hours (w/w); SA borders increased by ~3,1 hours, averaging ~13,4 hours (↑30%); Other SADC borders averaged ~8,0 hours (↑18%).
  • Global freight rates increased by ↑5% (or $64) to $1 406 per 40-ft container this week. YTD: $1 704.
  • Global air cargo is down by ↓1% (w/w), as rates are up by ↑1% and trading at $2,38/kg.

Port operations – General:

  • Port operations in the last week were characterised primarily by adverse weather conditions, equipment breakdowns and shortages, and internal congestion.
    Strong winds in Cape Town ensured that more than 24 operational hours were lost during the week.
  • Durban is currently the only South African Port on the “Port congestion Watch” as more than 60 000 TEUs were stuck at outer anchorage on Tuesday, 31 October.
  • By the end of the week, Crane 3 at GCT was still with the technical team undergoing hoist rope repairs and should return to service sometime over the weekend.
  • Intermittent cable theft took place on the rail network over the previous weekend, causing some delays.

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