Cape Town port gets help to clear lockdown freight backlog
JOHANNESBURG - Transnet SOC Ltd. will deploy to staff to its container and multipurpose terminals at the Port of Cape Town in a bid to clear backlogs caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Twenty employees including crane operators will be sent from the Durban Container Terminal to assist with the movement of cargo and ensure staff availability, the state-owned South African port and freight operator said in a statement published on its website. The transfer will not affect operations in Durban, it said.
Cape Town’s port terminals have been operating at a reduced capacity since the start of lockdown regulations on March 27 to contain the Covid-19 outbreak. Activity has increased since restrictions were gradually eased from May 1 with the container terminal operating at 60% of capacity and the multipurpose terminal at a 75%, Transnet said. The port side, which is responsible for marine operations, is operating with 60% of its staff but able to offer full marine services, it said.
Shipping liners MSC Group and Ocean Network Express Holdings have removed Cape Town from their main Europe route, while CMA CGM SA is charging extra to deliver to the port due to the delays, Business Insider reported, citing documents it had seen. MSC and ONE will use the Port of Cape Town for its smaller weekly routes, with ONE opting to offload cargo in Port Elizabeth before moving it to Cape Town with smaller vessels, the news website said.