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The typical suspects, such as bad weather, frequent equipment failures and shortages, delays, and congestion, characterized port operations. This week’s weather problems in Cape Town resulted in the port being windbound for around 40 hours. Three tugs were in service at the beginning of the week, and six tugs were in use at the end of the week, continuing the maritime fleet in Durban’s revival. Regarding TFR, a protracted power outage at the Loliwe station that lasted from Sunday afternoon to Monday afternoon caused operating difficulties on the rail line, and cases of cable theft recurred on Thursday, resulting in the cancellation of three trains. Also, sources on Thursday morning indicated that due to the current weather delays in Cape Town, it is anticipated that an inflow of reefer containers will soon arrive at the ports in the Eastern Cape.

Key Notes :

  • An average of ~6 838 containers was handled per day, with ~8 061 containers projected for next week.
  • Rail cargo handled out of Durban amounted to 2 880 containers, ↑8% compared to last week.
    Cross-border queue times were ↑0,5 hours, with transit times ↑3,3 hours, SA borders ~11,2 hours (↑24%).
  • The reefer industry is expected to increase by ↑1,1% in 2023, with spot rates stable at $4 250 – $4 500.
  • Cancelled sailings have finally returned to average levels, registering a 10% cancellation rate (↓17%, w/w).
  • Global freight rates continue to fall, as the “WCI” is down by ↓2% ($42) this week to $1 955 per 40 ft.
  • Air cargo has rebounded after the Lunar New Year and improved on last year’s equivalent levels (↑5%)

Port operations – General :

  • Port operations were characterised by the usual suspects identified as adverse weather, frequent equipment breakdowns and shortages, delays, and congestion.
  • Weather challenges persisted in Cape Town this week as the port was windbound for approximately 40 hours.
  • The marine fleet in Durban resumed its resurgence this week as three tugs were operational at the start of the week, and six tugs were in service during the latter stages of the week.
  • Concerning TFR, a lengthy power outage at the Loliwe station, which stretched from Sunday afternoon to Monday afternoon, led to operational challenges on the rail line, while instances of cable theft occurred once more on Thursday, which ensured that three trains were cancelled as a result.
  • Furthermore, reports on Thursday morning suggested that the Eastern Cape ports are anticipated to be subject to an influx of reefer containers soon due to the current weather delays at Cape Town.

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