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This week’s port operations were hampered by bad weather, regular equipment shortages and breakdowns, backlogs, delays, and congestion. The week at the Port of Cape Town was better since there were fewer delays due to bad weather. The average berthing delays have decreased from 13,5 days on Monday to 10,7 days in the later part of the week, signaling a reduction in Cape Town’s congestion. Yet, the frequency of mechanical breakdowns continues to be alarmingly high, severely reducing production. This week, the maritime fleet in Durban performed better because five tugs were in use for the majority of the week. The second tug continues to be in the drydock for maintenance, therefore the ports of Ngqura and Port Elizabeth continue to share tugs. Also, during the past week, there have been numerous incidents of wire theft on our national rail lines, with the most recent one leading to up to four-hour operational delays.

Key Notes :

  • An average of ~7 064 containers was handled per day, with ~8 953 containers projected for next week.
  • Rail cargo handled out of Durban amounted to 3 158 containers, ↑45% compared to last week.
  • Cross-border queue times were ↑1,4 hours, with transit times ↓2,7 hours, SA borders ~13,9 hours (↓18%).
  • UNCTAD shows global goods trade decreased by ↓3% (q/q), as services and green goods remain robust.
  • Global container throughput dropped by a significant ↓2,6% in January (against a predicted ↓0,5%).
  • Global freight rates continue to fall, as the “WCI” is down by ↓2% ($23) this week to $1 757 per 40 ft.
  • Flat tonnages and minor changes in capacity (↑2%) and yields (↓1%) in the global air cargo market.

Port operations – General :

  • Port operations this week were impacted by adverse weather, frequent equipment breakdowns and shortages, backlogs, delays, and congestion.
  • The Port of Cape Town had an improved week as minimal delays were reported due to adverse weather conditions.
  • The congestion at Cape Town has improved over the latter stages of the week as the average berthing delays are down to 10,7 days compared to 13,5 on Monday.
  • But the incidence of mechanical failures remains worryingly high, seriously impacting productivity.
  • The marine fleet in Durban improved this week, as five tugs were in operation for most of the week.
  • The Ports of Ngqura and Port Elizabeth still share tugs as the second tug remains in the drydock for repairs.
  • Additionally, more cable theft was experienced on our national rail lines over the last week, with the most recent instance resulting in operational delays of up to four hours.

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