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Relief as all Port of Cape Town staff return to work

File picture: David Ritchie / ANA

File picture: David Ritchie / ANA

Published Aug 3, 2020

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Cape Town – The Port of Cape Town now has all of its marine crew back on duty and continues to ramp-up operations and reduce shipping backlogs caused by Covid-19.

Staff capacity from 60% at the start of July because of positive Covid-19 cases and employees in quarantine, to 100% by month-end.

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Volumes had increased, container terminal performance had improved, and only one container vessel was at outer anchorage, reduced from nine vessels on Tuesday, Transnet said.

Transnet Port Terminals aimed to have the backlog of cargo cleared by mid-month after inclement weather delayed progress and shifted the original target to the end of July.

Cape Town Port manager Mpumi Dweba-Kwetana said it was encouraging to see that terminal operators now had a better handle on Covid-19 cases.

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“Employees who have been sick and in isolation are returning to work.

"While there is much to celebrate and a lot to be thankful for, including the unwavering commitment of the stakeholders who have been attending our bi-weekly meetings, we must keep our eyes on the ball,” Dweba-Kwetana said.

“We need to be vigilant and put measures in place to mitigate the risk of reinfection and cross pollination. Social distancing must continue to be applied, including the use of the zoning method in mess and ablution facilities in the port,” she added.

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All marine pilots have been on duty throughout the month and Transnet National Ports Authority has been able to offer a full marine service to move vessels in and out of the port.

The full marine fleet available includes two tugs and a third tug on standby, one work boat, one pilot boat and one launch. Berthing services, which were most affected by the virus spread among employees, were back to normal with two berthing gangs in place.

Transnet said the trucker strike action outside the port had not impacted port operations at the Cape Town Container Terminal.

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Although stand-in operators from Durban returned back to KZN on July 29, the terminal would maintain a six-gang operation due to Cape Town employees being back at work.

Cape Times

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