Transnet operations gradually returning to normal following unrest

16th July 2021 By: Yvonne Silaule - Contributor

Transnet operations gradually returning to normal following unrest

There has been an incremental improvement in the operations of State-owned logistics company Transnet, following disruptions caused by days of unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

As a result of the unrest, port operator Transnet Port Terminals had issued force majeure notices with regard to the Durban Container Terminal Pier 1 and 2, the Durban Roll-on/Roll-off (Roro) and multipurpose terminals, the Richards Bay multipurpose terminal and dry bulk terminals and the Maydon Wharf bulk terminal.

In a statement released on July 16, Transnet spokesperson Ayanda Shezi said port and terminal operations were slowly beginning to normalise as an increased number of employees started reporting for shifts, following restoration of public transport in parts of KwaZulu-Natal.

She further stated that the Port of Richards Bay had managed to clear all shipping backlogs and that the terminal operations at the Port of Durban were continuing to improve.

Marine service operations to service vessels had been available throughout this period.

Meanwhile, the Transnet pipeline network remains operational; however, fuel and food shortages, as well as remaining road closures in the vicinity of the Durban port continue to constrain the rest of the supply chain, as trucks cannot get into and out of the port, resulting in backlogs.

"In Richards Bay, where trucks handle dry bulk commodities, truck movements are under way,” Shezi said.

She said Transnet was on high alert and that additional security and protection of critical infrastructure remained in place.

On the rail side, Shezi added that work was under way to restart the suspended Natcor line. She said this was delayed by the need to clear remnants of the looting activities strewn along the railway. Testing of the line was being undertaken to ensure it is safe.

“Transnet continues to monitor the situation and will resume rail services on this critical line as soon as it is safe to do so, and we continue to work on solutions to mitigate the current challenges, and to ensure that, once all blockages in the supply chain have been cleared, we are able to deliver goods into and out of the country.”

Transnet’s operations in the rest of the country continue to operate normally and a 24-hour nerve centre hotline remains operational to monitor and respond to security-related incidents.

“Transnet continues to work closely with law enforcement agencies, including members of the South African National Defence Force to safeguard the infrastructure,” said Shezi.