The Port of Durban Decongestion Task Team is looking at synchronising the operating hours of the back-of-port container depots with the port’s 24/7 operating hours.
The team also wants to introduce a holistic truck booking system that could provide an integrated view of expected truck volumes and allow more effective planning.
Both these projects are part of an effort to alleviate congestion at the Port of Durban and on the surrounding road networks.
“We don’t want Transnet Port Terminals and Transnet Freight Rail to be the only ones sequencing the arrival of trucks at the port,” says Port of Durban GM Moshe Motlohi.
“We want to have a booking system that will give the port intelligence around how many trucks are expected in each hour so that we can proactively decide how to deploy our resources and give port users full visibility, so that they can plan when and when not to send vehicles to the port.“
We feel this will add value, lower costs and have a positive environmental impact.”
A mandatory automated truck booking system has already been introduced at Durban Container Terminal Pier 1 and Pier 2, while the Grindrod, FPT and Bulk Terminal depots have also piloted their own booking systems.
Transporters visiting these terminals are required to notify the terminal operators ahead of time if they intend to call at the port.
Motlohi says the task team has already engaged the depots and terminal operators on a booking system.
“Stakeholders around the Bayhead and Island View precinct have welcomed the view of having an integrated system to control the number of trucks entering and exiting the port,” he notes.
The Decongestion Task Team has also engaged users of the existing Transnet truck booking system on the initial challenges experienced.
The team, as well as the container terminals, have been exploring improvements based on feedback from the transport industry, says Motlohi.
“We acknowledge that there is still work to be done on this front, but have no doubt that all parties will be accommodated.
“Internally, Transnet Port Terminals has engaged its Pier 2 Container Terminal landside employees on the system and the use thereof. “As partners in this process, employees have also provided their feedback and input on how to improve the system to better serve the customer.”
Motlohi says the task team is also making strides in engaging depot operators on the possibility of operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
“This intervention is to sync the depot operations with terminal operations to ensure alignment and that trucks are dispatched for cargo to be collected even during less popular hours, such as weekends and after hours. “That would reduce congestion during traditional peak periods.”