DURBAN - TRANSNET says it has made progress in identifying alternative access routes for trucks destined for the container terminals and the liquid bulk terminals at Island View.
This comes after Bayhead Road, which provides access to the port, was completely closed because of heavy rains and flooding.
Ayanda Shezi, spokesperson for Transnet, said after assessments of the damage were conducted, contractors were appointed to commence with the engineering works to restore Bayhead Road and allow flowing traffic on two outbound lanes.
She said contractors had been at work at the weekend.
In an update on its official Facebook page yesterday, Transnet National Ports Authority said phase 1 of Bayhead Road restoration had been completed on Saturday.
Shezi said that an alternative access road (Bluff Road) to the container terminal and the Island View Precinct had been identified after engagement with the Bluff community to temporarily relax the municipal by-laws.
“An assessment was carried out to ensure the safety of Bluff residents and transporters during the period where trucks will be utilising the road.
“The port will continue to prioritise evacuation of essential goods, including food, medical supplies and petroleum products during this time. Truck owners are urged to avoid creating congestion around the area, as this also poses many dangers given the condition of the roads. Shipping has resumed following the cleaning of debris from the harbour.”
On the rail side, she said the Kingsrest yard had been partially reopened, and the six trains in the yard with export containers were being moved to the Durban Container Terminal.
Shezi said that Transnet senior leadership led by Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan and the group chief executive Portia Derby had visited the harbour and rail sites to assess the damage and seek areas of collaboration with all provincial stakeholders.
“Transnet, with the support of stakeholders, will continue to work round-the-clock to ensure that full operations resume as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, Francois Rodgers of the DA in KZN, called on Premier Sihle Zikalala and the MEC of Economic Development, Ravi Pillay, to immediately assess the widespread reports of fuel stations running out of petrol.
“This as a result of key transport routes having been destroyed by the floods, in particular those routes around the fuel depots in eThekwini.”
Rodgers said the impact and subsequent challenges were having a disastrous effect on the provincial economy and clean-up operations.
“It is in this regard that the DA calls upon the KZN premier and MEC Ravi Pillay to immediately assess the situation to avoid a crisis that could further cripple our province.
“An interim plan for the dispersal of fuel needs to be explored urgently as the road infrastructure could take months to repair.”
Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Senzelwe Mzila said there was no shortage of fuel in the province.
“There was damage done to Bayhead Road due to the recent floods. However, there is access for fuel tankers to supply fuel on different routes and we don’t see a fuel shortage problem in KwaZulu-Natal.”