Vessel backlogs cleared at Cape Town Container Terminal

4th May 2022 By: Darren Parker

The combination of consenting weather, an improved equipment reliability programme and increased human resources has cleared vessel backlogs at the Cape Town Container Terminal (CTCT), State-owned Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) said in a statement on May 4.

“Vessels are now able to berth on arrival after several months of implementing a fool-proof plan that kept on being sabotaged by bad weather,” said TPT Western Cape region managing executive Andiswa Dlanga, adding that intensive internal engagements had to take place for full buy-in of the executing teams.

For the past two months, the terminal’s productivity had seen record-breaking shift performances. In mid-April, there were a few records of more than 4 000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) loaded and offloaded within a 24-hour period, with ship working-hours rising to 68 against a target of 50.

“In an environment like ours, safety cannot be compromised. For the team to achieve . . . zero incidents over an extended period is commendable,” Dlanga said.

While the threat of weather delays remains a reality, the terminal has two additional rubber-tyred gantry cranes on the landside, with plans to increase the number of team members working on a vessel from seven to eight. Wind assessments have also become standard practice to plan better for windy and fog conditions.

Dlanga said weekly industry meetings had played a significant role in ensuring alignment.

“Through trial and error, we have learnt the value of regular engagement, for industry to have full sight of what we plan so that we critique the outcomes together and plan better. And while the story may not always be perfect, there is full understanding of where to improve and the feedback is valuable” she said. 

CTCT plays a supporting role in the country’s citrus season. During this period, both KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape move export volumes to more than 100 countries, mainly in the European Union, Russia, the US and Mediterranean countries.