This update – the 95th of its kind – contains a consolidated overview of the South African supply chain and the current state of international trade. Newly reported COVID-19 infections declined significantly this week, averaging approximately 399 per day (↓15% against last week’s average of 469). South Africa is approaching 4 million positive cases, with the death toll up to 101 868 this week (up by 75). Globally, the case tally stands at 554 million infected by COVID-19, with 6,35 million deaths recorded. Around 12,14 billion vaccine doses have been administered globally , with South Africa now at 36,9 million.
Port operations this past week were characterised by general equipment delays and issues relating to load-shedding and weather delays. Our commercial ports were not generally busy or congested; however, equipment availability remains an issue. Cape Town Container Terminal is still dredging berth 601 while the Eastern Cape begins to make alternative plans to soften the blow of load-shedding, having little or no generator backup. Weather conditions caused minimal delays, and port operations continued as usual.
On the international shipping side, significant supply chain disruptions continue, with the World Bank anticipating global trade growth to slow to ↑4% in 2022 – citing the war in Ukraine and a shift in global activity toward the less trade-intensive services sector as the main determinants. In addition, some high-volume ports are experiencing congestion six times worse than in 2010, with little to no expectation of a fix this side of 2023. Consequently, the average number of containerships waiting outside major ports is growing, with schedule rotation delays of more than 15 days on some major routes.