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This week’s port operations were characterized by bad weather, ongoing equipment problems and shortages, traffic, and load shedding. Severe vessel range and RTG problems, which had a considerable impact on operations, are to blame for the most noticeable delays this week in Cape Town. While the port helicopter remained out of service, marine resources at the Port of Durban resumed having a full complement of five tugs for the majority of the week. Industry reports state that the “Ruby Ace” has been berthed this week for about five days. According to TPT, the reason for this extended stay may be due to a lack of resources, traffic, and the delayed delivery of cargo. As TNPA searches for a provider to build the port common-user infrastructure necessary to operate the LNG terminal, the liquified natural gas (LNG) project for the Port of Richards Bay also made considerable progress this week. In addition, sporadic cable theft and power outages returned at the end of the week following several weeks of favourable train activity, which caused operational interruptions on the rail network.

Key Notes:

  • An average of ~8 512 containers was handled per day, with ~9 161 containers projected for next week.
  • Rail cargo handled out of Durban amounted to 2 401 containers, ↑6% compared to last week.
    The latest Ctrack “Transport Freight Index” increased by ↑0,4% end-May (m/m) and is also ↑7,5% (y/y).
  • “Land Transport Survey” for May shows that the payload decreased by ↓0,3% (y/y)—road/rail at 85/15.
  • Cross-border queue times were ↓0,4 hours (w/w), with transit times ↓2,4 hours (w/w); SA borders were almost unchanged, averaging ~10,6 hours (↑1%); Other SADC borders averaged ~11,5 hours (↓20%).
  • IMF revised global growth upwardly by ↑0,2% to ↑3%; SA is also up by ↑0,2% to ↑0,3% in 2023.
  • Global freight rates followed last week’s trend and increased by ↑2,5% (or $39) to $1 576 per 40ft.
  • Global air cargo tonnages slightly decreased (↓1%, w/w), with rates slightly down to $2,28 per kg.

Port operations – General:

  • Port operations this week were typified by adverse weather, persistent equipment breakdowns and shortages, congestion, and load-shedding.
  • The most prominent delays experienced in Cape Town this week can be attributed to severe vessel ranging and RTG breakdowns, significantly impacting operations.
  • Marine resources at the Port of Durban returned to a full complement of five tugs for most of the week while the port helicopter remained out of commission.
  • According to industry reports, the “Ruby Ace” has been at berth for approximately five days this week.
  • TPT states that this prolonged stay could be attributed to a shortage of resources, congestion, and the late arrival of cargo.
  • Additionally, the liquified natural gas (LNG) project for the Port of Richards Bay reached a significant milestone with TNPA this week as they are sourcing a supplier to develop the port common-user infrastructure required to support the LNG terminal.
  • Furthermore, after consecutive weeks of favourable rail activity, intermittent cable theft and power failures returned towards the latter end of the week, resulting in operational disruptions on the rail network.

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