Transnet operations improve following unrest
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CAPE TOWN - South Africa’s state-owned rail, port and pipeline company Transnet said on Friday its operations were improving in the ports of Durban and Richards Bay after being disrupted by violence earlier in the week.
The country is now doing mop-up work after looting and vandalism rocked mainly the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces, having started off as protests against former president Jacob Zuma’s imprisonment for contempt of court.
In a statement, Transnet said port and terminal operations were slowly beginning to normalise as the number of employees reporting for their shifts increased after public transport was restored in parts of KwaZulu-Natal.
The Richards Bay port has managed to clear shipping backlogs and terminal operations continue to improve at the Port of Durban.
“However, fuel and food shortages, as well as remaining road closures in the Durban port vicinity, continue to constrain the rest of the supply chain, as trucks cannot get into and out of the port, resulting in backlogs,” Transnet spokesperson Ayanda Shezi said.
“In Richards Bay, where trucks handle dry bulk commodities, truck movements are underway.”
She said no security incidents had been reported in the last 24 hours, but the company remained on high alert, with additional security to protect critical infrastructure remaining in place.
Transent was ready to restart its suspended Natal Corridor rail line, Shezi added.
The 688 km line links mines and farms in the northern regions of the country to the Durban and Richards Bay ports. Its reopening has been delayed by the need to debris along the railway, from looting activities.
“Testing of the line is 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,” Shezi said.
Transnet said it would continue to work on solutions to mitigate current challenges and to ensure that, once all blockages in the supply chain had been cleared, it was able to deliver goods in and out of the country.