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This week’s port operations were mostly affected by bad weather, a lack of equipment, malfunctions, and traffic jams. This week’s major operational obstacles in Cape Town were strong winds and thick fog, while operations at our Eastern Cape Ports were hampered by high seas and unfavourable weather. Waterside activities were interrupted for almost five hours on Monday and Tuesday due to a death in Durban. Furthermore, new bulk infrastructure is being developed at the Port of Richards Bay to position it as a vital hub for energy trading; this work is anticipated to be finished by the end of May.

Key Notes:

  • An average of ~7 197 containers was handled per day, with ~8 772 containers projected for next week.
  • Cross-border queue times were unchanged (w/w), with transit times ↓2,2 hours (w/w); SA borders decreased by ~1,0 hours, averaging ~14 hours (↓7%); Other SADC borders averaged ~7,4 hours (↓24%).
  • Rail cargo handled out of Durban was reported at 2 161 containers, down by ↓6% from last week.
  • Drewry’s “Global Port Throughput Index” declined by ↓2,0% in January 2024, reaching 110,3 points.
  • Global freight rates have again decreased this week – by ↓4,8% (or $152) to $3 010 per 40-ft container.
  • Global air cargo volumes continue to rise cyclically, with stable capacity and rates also up (↑3%, w/w).

Port operations – General:

  • Port operations this week were primarily impacted by adverse weather conditions, equipment shortages and breakdowns, coupled with congestion.
  • Strong winds and dense fog were the main operational constraints in Cape Town this week, while high swells coupled with adverse weather disrupted operations at our Eastern Cape Ports.
  • A fatality in Durban disrupted waterside operations for approximately five hours between Monday and Tuesday.
  • Additionally, the Port of Richards Bay is being positioned as a critical hub for energy trade through the development of new bulk infrastructure, which is expected to be completed by the end of May.

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