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A daily average of 7 138 containers were handled, and 9 589 containers are anticipated for the next week. 2 075 containers worth of rail cargo were handled out of Durban, which is a 29% decrease from the previous week. Exports (12,3%, m/m) and imports (8,7%) in May for SARS; surplus for the year as a whole of R9,4 billion. Transit times were 2,7 hours (w/w) and cross-border wait times were 6,8 hours (w/w); SA borders saw a three-hour decrease to an average of 14,4 hours (an 18% decrease, w/w); and other SADC borders saw an average of 11,1 hours. Trade in goods is up 1,9% (q/q) and trade in services is up 2,8% (q/q) compared to Q4 2022, according to UNCTAD. Schedule reliability has increased globally by 2,7%, with 4,39 days of late vessel arrivals. This week, the price of a 40-foot container fell globally by 2.7% (or $42) to $1 494. As volume shows a modest decline (2%), pricing for global air freight remain remarkably constant at roughly $2,37 per ton.

Key Notes:

  • An average of ~7 138 containers was handled per day, with ~9 589 containers projected for next week.
  • Rail cargo handled out of Durban amounted to 2 075 containers, ↓29% compared to last week.
    SARS merchandise trade (May): exports (↑12,3%, m/m), imports (↑8,7%); YTD surplus: R9,4 billion.
  • Cross-border queue times were ↑6,8 hours (w/w), with transit times ↓2,7 hours (w/w); SA borders decreased by three hours – averaging ~14,4 hours (↓18%, w/w); Other SADC borders averaged ~11,1 hours.
  • UNCTAD shows merchandise trade is up by ↑1,9% (q/q) and services trade by ↑2,8% (q/q) vs. Q4 2022.
  • Global schedule reliability has continued to improve – up by ↑2,7%, with late vessel arrivals at 4,39 days.
  • Global container rates decreased again this week, dropping by ↓2,7% (or $42) to $1 494 per 40 ft.
  • Global air cargo remains very flat as tonnage shows a slight decrease (↓2%), with rates around $2,37.


Port operations – General:

  • Port operations this week were characterised by adverse weather, persistent equipment breakdowns and shortages, vessel ranging, and load-shedding.
  • In Durban, abnormal weather conditions in the form of tornado-like winds and rain were the primary contributor to operational delays during the early stages of the week.
  • Adverse weather conditions returned to Cape Town this week, delaying operations.
  • The gates at CTCT were closed for an undisclosed period on Thursday due to congestion in the terminal. Repairs continued on berth D100 at NCT this week as the latest reports contradict those received last week.
  • Furthermore, the abnormal weather conditions experienced in Durban during the early stages of the week also impacted TFR’s operations as the line near Shongweni was covered in sand, negatively affecting cargo flow to and from Cato Ridge.

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