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Poor weather, regular equipment failures and shortages, load-shedding, backlogs, delays, and protracted congestion may be used to summarize port operations this week. Over the long weekend, there was less congestion at the Port of Cape Town, and as the week went on, the average berthing delay decreased from ten days last week to 6,45 days. This week, load-shedding affected the Port of East London, with the worst incidents taking place on Wednesday, when the port only had one hour of electricity throughout the day. Additionally, there were some small operational disruptions this week despite modest cable theft and damage on our national rail lines. Participants in the business should also be aware that beginning on April 14, Transnet will no longer accept a vessel at anchorage without a notification of arrival from an agent. All vessels will therefore wait outside the VTS Zone, which is 15 nautical miles away, in the absence of an appointed agent or an arrival notification.

Key Notes:

  • An average of ~8 152 containers was handled per day, with ~8 493 containers projected for next week.
  • Rail cargo handled out of Durban amounted to 2 257 containers, ↑30% compared to last week.
    Cross-border queue times were ↓0,7 hours, with transit times ↓1,4 hours, SA borders ~11,2 hours (↓3%).
  • UNCTAD downwardly revises global growth output for 2023 (↑2,2% to ↑2,1%); SA has also been downwardly revised – by a mammoth ↓1,6% to ↑1,3% in 2023, as load-shedding and debt persist.
  • CTS container throughput (dry & reefer) is down by ↓8,9% (m/m) and ↓5,0% (y/y) for February.
  • “WCI” freight rates have stabilised at $1 709 per 40 ft (↓0,1% w/w, or $1).
  • Global air cargo (CTKs) were ↓7,5% (y/y) in February – significantly improving from ↓15% in January.

Port operations – General :

  • This week, port operations could be summarised by adverse weather, frequent equipment breakdowns and shortages, load-shedding, backlogs, delays, and prolonged congestion.
  • The congestion at the Port of Cape Town improved over the long weekend, and as the week progressed, the average berthing delay was reduced to 6,45 days compared to the ten days experienced last week.
  • The Port of East London fell victim to load-shedding this week, with the most severe instances occurring on Wednesday when the port only had one hour of power throughout the day.
  • Additionally, minor cable theft and vandalism on our national rail lines continued this week; but luckily, minimal operational delays were reported.
  • Furthermore, industry participants should note that as of 14 April, Transnet will no longer accept a vessel at anchorage without an arrival notification from an agent.
  • Thus, all vessels with no appointed agent or arrival notification will wait outside the VTS Zone, which is 15 nautical miles.

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