Progress at Durban terminals commended

29th January 2021

Progress at Durban terminals commended

ATTENTION GIVEN Port users and cargo owners commended developments made to the Transnet Port Terminals during the course of the year

State-owned freight logistics company Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) and network organisation Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) recently took stock of progress made to date at TPT’s terminals.

An announcement to that effect – made in October – followed an industry outcry eight months prior, that called for an overhaul of operations at the Durban Port precinct.

Port users and cargo owners, as well as members of the DCCI, attended an industry session and commended developments.

The attendees highlighted improved communication and collaborative approaches that aligned operating hours of nearby warehouses with the terminal’s 24-hour working pattern.

Additionally, improved truck turnaround time and equipment availability and reliability, owing to TPT’s R2-billion investment programme currently underway, were commended.

Paper and pulp group Sappi supply chain VP Morgan Moodley said the group was seeing encouraging transformation at the terminal and TPT’s introduction of the mandatory truck booking system was helping industry despite initial teething problems.

“We remain with the challenge posed by wind and equipment within operations and we will have to soon find solutions to cope with arising circumstances,” he added.

Through learnings and innovations employed at Durban Container Terminals (DCT) and guided by the new operating model, TPT shared how it was in the process of repositioning itself as a logistics solutions provider.

An application called Cargo Connect was in the building phase and would serve as a conduit for the commercial interaction between all parties in the supply chain.

According to TPT sales and new business development GM Siyabulela Mhlaluka, Cargo Connect would enable transactions between cargo owners, the South African Revenue Service, shipping lines, trucking companies and the terminal.

He pointed out that it would also assist cargo owners accelerate the movement of their cargo through the system.

Despite Covid-19 and weather challenges, DCT was performing relatively well although 15% behind budgeted volumes year to date.

DCT Pier 2 increased straddle carriers servicing vessels from 70 to 85. A total of 23 new straddle carriers were delivered as replacements in July and September last year, with a balance of 22 still to arrive in batches from May 2021.

At DCT Pier 1, two rubber-tyred gantry cranes were expected to be delivered by December.

The company’s ability to plan and work Durban’s terminals complementarily, had reduced delays in vessel waiting, with the three terminals recording an average of less than a day.

“The resourcing and efficient running of both terminals DCT Pier 1 and 2 enabled the repurposing of the adjacent Durban MPT in a bid to handle additional container volumes long term,” said Mhlaluka.

He added that in the recent past, equipment and capacity challenges at the Durban MPT had resulted in vessel delays impacting especially the AMEX service to America, with volumes being diverted to DCT Pier 1 and 2 while company executives looked into redirecting capital expenditure to increase capacity at the terminal.

Further, loading rates at the Durban Roll-On/Roll-Off Terminal were above target despite the slowdown of automotive volumes.