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This week’s port operations were characterized by unfavorable weather, frequent equipment failures and shortages, extreme traffic jams, load-shedding, and union activities. Productivity levels at the Port of Cape Town were recorded at an average of 10 container moves per hour this week due to equipment problems and shortages. On Wednesday, eleven different vessel movements occurred as a result of unfavorable weather conditions in Durban. While the port helicopter has still not been put back into service, Durban TNPA had hoped to have six available tugs at the port by August of this year. Instead, only four tugs were active for the majority of the week. Crane QC1 is still not in operation at NCT, with a tentative return date of August 31, 2023. This week, there was yet another cable theft incident on a rail line close to Danskraal, which caused a four-hour operation delay. Transnet is once again pleading with the government to crack down on cable theft.

Key Notes:

  • An average of ~7 929 containers was handled per day, with ~8 773 containers projected for next week.
  • TNPA stats for July: containers are down by ↓1% (m/m) but up by ↑1% (y/y) and down YTD by ↓3,7% (y/y). Total bulk cargoes are down versus June (↓6%) and down by ↓15% (y/y). Vehicles: ↓31% (m/m).
  • Rail cargo handled out of Durban amounted to 2 226 containers, ↓4% compared to last week.
    Cross-border queue times were ↑1,8 hours (w/w), with transit times ↑2,8 hours (w/w); SA borders increased by nearly three hours, averaging ~12,7 hours (↑32%); Other SADC borders averaged ~10,3 hours (↑37%).
  • Global freight rates increased again this week and are up by ↑2,3% (or $42) to $1 832 per 40ft.
  • Global air cargo volumes remain at ↓4%, down from last year, as is capacity at ↑9% and rates at ↓37%.

Port operations – General:

  • This week, port operations were characterised by adverse weather conditions, continuous equipment breakdowns and shortages, severe congestion, load-shedding, and union engagements.
  • Equipment breakdowns and shortages ensured that productivity levels at the Port of Cape Town were recorded at an average of ten container moves per hour this week.
  • Adverse weather conditions in Durban led to no less than ten vessel movements deviating from their respective schedules on Wednesday.
  • Despite Durban TNPA’s goal to have six available tugs at the port by August this year, only four tugs remained in operation for the most significant part of the week, while the port helicopter has still not returned to service.
  • Crane QC1 remains out of commission at NCT with a preliminary estimated return time of 31 August 2023.
  • Another cable theft incident occurred on the rail line near Danskraal earlier this week, which delayed operations for approximately four hours, as Transnet makes another plea to authorities to the government to clamp down on cable theft.

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