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Weather issues, ongoing equipment problems and shortages, load shedding, backlogs, and congestion plagued port operations. This week in Cape Town was significantly better because there were less reported delays because of bad weather. Additionally, Cape Town has finally (gratifyingly) fallen off the front page of Linerlytica’s “Port Congestion Watch” since backlogs were eventually resolved and the number of vessels in the anchorage was decreased. This week’s incident in Durban involving a drunk truck driver resulted in lengthy delays, and at the Port, two more drunk drivers were turned away. This week, load shedding once again affected the Port of East London due to Eskom’s continued stage 6 load shedding schedule. Moreover, a number of wire theft events hampered rail operations this week, with the most serious one resulting in substantial delays of up to ten hours on Wednesday.

Key Notes:

  • An average of ~8 280 containers was handled per day, with ~8 555 containers projected for next week.
  • TNPA stats for March: containers are up by ↑17% (m/m) and ↑3% (y/y). Unfortunately, YTD remains low: exports are ↓9%, with imports at ↓5%. Total bulk cargo is down by ↓14% (m/m) and ↓11% (y/y).
  • Rail cargo handled out of Durban amounted to 2 534 containers, ↑12% compared to last week.
  • Cross-border queue times were ↓0,4 hours, with transit times ↓1,2 hours, SA borders ~9,0 hours (↓20%).
  • The IMF notes that global growth will bottom out at ↑2,8% in 2023 – rising to a modest ↑3% next year.
  • Bunker fuel is down by ↓46% from the all-time high of $1 126 per ton reached on 14 June 2021.
  • After bottoming out last week, the “WCI” freight rates have risen by ↑4% (or $65) to $1 774 per 40 ft.
  • Global air cargo is down by ↓2% (w/w), with capacity high at ↑12% (y/y) and rates at $2,56/kg.

Port operations – General :

  • Port operations were characterised by adverse weather, continuous equipment breakdowns and shortages, load-shedding, backlogs, and congestion.
  • A much-improved week was experienced in Cape Town this week as minimal delays were reported due to adverse weather.
  • Moreover, Cape Town has now (fortunately) dropped from the first page of Linerlytica’s “Port Congestion Watch”, as backlogs were eventually cleared and vessels at anchorage were reduced.
  • An intoxicated truck driver was involved in an incident in Durban this week, which ensured extensive delays, while two other intoxicated drivers were denied entry at the Port.
  • The Port of East London fell victim to load-shedding again this week as Eskom’s stage 6 loadshedding schedule persists.
  • Additionally, multiple cable theft incidents disrupted rail operations this week, with the most significant incident causing extensive delays of between eight and ten hours on Wednesday.

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