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PUBLISHER: Freight News (

Transnet has blamed the congestion in Cape Town port at the peak of the deciduous fruit season largely on staffing issues and inclement weather, including fog and high wind speeds of up to 90 kilometres per hour.

This comes after port users and transporters highlighted growing concern about backlogs at the port at the height of the grape export season. They said it seemed that leave allocations and high staff absenteeism over the festive season, as well as equipment breakdowns and bad weather, had led to the long delays.

One transporter, who asked to remain anonymous, said there had been nine vessels waiting along the coast to enter Cape Town port on Thursday.

“As of yesterday there were nine vessels waiting outside, one of which had been out there for two weeks – and it just compounds the problem. One shipping line, PIL, has deployed nine vessels along the route. In an ideal world we would see the vessels spread out on the route to the Far East, but as of two days ago seven were outside the SA coast,” he said.

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