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This week, operational port delays were caused by bad weather, regular equipment failures and shortages, system difficulties, delays, and traffic. The troubles that plagued Cape Town a fortnight ago returned, with the container terminal’s complete Monday-long windbound status causing the most noteworthy operating delays. Five tugs provided waterside operations support for the majority of the week, maintaining the stability and increased performance of Durban’s marine fleet. Furthermore, crisis meetings were called in Richards Bay this week after the situation hit a low point late last week when up to 600 coal trucks gathered close to the major entrance to Richards Bay, causing traffic to come to a complete stop along parts of the N2. According to reports this week, NCT and GCT are now operating both ports with a complement of two tugs rather than sharing a single tug. Moreover, occasional cable theft continues to cause problems for rail operations this week, and indications indicate that TFR is still no closer to finding a solution.

Key Notes :

  • An average of ~6 259 containers was handled per day, with ~9 403 containers projected for next week.
  • Rail cargo handled out of Durban amounted to 1 824 containers, ↓6% compared to last week.
    Cross-border queue times were ↑2,2 hours, with transit times ↓1,5 hours, SA borders 12,5 hours (↑26%).
  • The RWI/ISL container throughput index decreased by ↓2,2 from December’s revised 122,4 points.
    Liner schedule reliability decreased by ↓3,8% (m/m) to 52,6%, with average late arrivals at 5,26 days.
  • Global freight rates continue to fall, as the “WCI” is down by ↓2% ($39) this week to $1 859 per 40 ft.
  • Air cargo is stable with tonnage (↓1%), capacity (↑2%) and yield (↑0%) versus two weeks ago.

Port operations – General :

  • Operational port delays this week included adverse weather, frequent equipment breakdowns and shortages, system challenges, delays, and congestion.
  • Cape Town was revisited by the difficulties of a fortnight ago, with the most notable operational delays stemming from the container terminal being windbound for the whole of Monday.
  • The marine fleet in Durban remained stable and continued its improved performance over the past week, as five tugs serviced waterside operations for the most significant part of the week.
  • Additionally, crisis meetings were called in Richards Bay this week after the situation reached a really low point late last week, when up to 600 coal trucks piled up next to the main entrance to Richards Bay, bringing traffic to a standstill along sections of the N2.
  • Reports this week suggested that NCT and GCT are no longer sharing tugs and that both ports are conducting operations with a complement of two tugs.
  • Furthermore, intermittent cable theft continued to disrupt rail operations this week, with reports suggesting that TFR is no closer to finding a solution on the matter just yet.

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