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This week’s port operations were mostly affected by bad weather, traffic, and ongoing equipment shortages and malfunctions. At the Port of Cape Town, strong winds and thick fog guaranteed operational delays, while at Durban, equipment shortages and malfunctions constituted the primary operational impediments. Poor weather caused more than 21 hours of lost time in the Eastern Cape between Tuesday and Wednesday, while on Tuesday at least five hours of activities were delayed in Richards Bay owing to similar weather conditions. According to the most recent reports, TNPA is reportedly moving more quickly to complete port infrastructure development projects in order to relieve traffic and expand capacity at the ports of Richards Bay and Durban. Additionally, 10 kilometres from the Durban Port, MSC has opened its first cold storage facility in the world, an R350 million establishment.

Key Notes:

  • An average of ~7 755 containers was handled per day, with ~8 411 containers projected for next week.
  • Cross-border queue times were ↓0,3 hours (w/w), with transit times ↓1,8 hours (w/w); SA borders decreased by ~2,2 hours, averaging ~10,5 hours (↓17%); Other SADC borders averaged ~6,8 hours (↓20%).
  • Rail cargo handled out of Durban was reported at 2 422 containers, up by ↑35% from last week.
  • Global freight rates have again decreased this week – by ↓5,9% (or $206) to $3 287 per 40-ft container.
  • Global air cargo demand kicked off with a huge ↑18,4% (y/y) growth in January, according to IATA.

Port operations – General:

  • Port operations this week were primarily impacted by adverse weather conditions, congestion, and continuous equipment breakdowns and shortages.
  • Strong winds coupled with dense fog ensured operational delays at the Port of Cape Town,  while the main operational constraints in Durban stemmed from equipment breakdowns an shortages.
  • More than 21 hours were lost in the Eastern Cape between Tuesday and Wednesday due to poor weather, while similar weather conditions in Richards Bay delayed operations for at least five hours on Tuesday.
  • The latest reports suggest that TNPA is accelerating the execution of port infrastructure development projects to reduce congestion and increase capacity at the ports of Durban and Richards Bay.
  • Furthermore, MSC has opened its first cold storage facility in the world – a R350 million facility located 10km from the Durban Port.

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