The traffic and delays at the port of Durban are a result of infrastructure unable to meet demand, President Cyril Ramaphosa said.
“Over the years, a number of inefficiencies have led to the Port of Durban losing its international ranking,” Ramaphosa said on Wednesday night.
“Despite the significant challenges Transnet has been facing, there has been some progress and movement, and this infrastructure project is one such example.
Ramaphosa acknowledged the ongoing challenges at the Port of Durban. He said there “has been some progress” in making the Port of Durban more efficient and able to cope with the growing demand for size and operational capabilities.
“Transnet is in the process of finalising a Memorandum of Agreement with the municipality, the province and Ithala Bank for the development of the Durban Bay Waterfront,” Ramaphosa said.
“This will encompass the overhaul and redevelopment of the marina and its transformation into a world-class economic, tourism, water sports and recreation asset.”
Maritime operators have described the situation at the port as drastic, according to an earlier IOL report, as around 71,000 containers are stuck out at sea.
The backlog will take between seven and 15 weeks to clear all vessels from anchorage at both piers at the Port of Durban, according to Transnet.
Ramaphosa was speaking during the inauguration of the Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal on Point Road, Durban, on Wednesday evening before a host of delegates from the private and public sector.
The official renaming and opening of the new cruise terminal was part of upgrades that the government had planned for the Port of Durban, the President explained.
The upgrades will mainly affect certain areas within the City, namely Island View, Container, Bayhead, Maydon Wharf and the Point and recreation precinct.
Old Mutual Wealth investment strategist Izak Odendaal said the failures of Transnet had an impact on the South African economy and described the SOE as being in a similar position to that of Eskom.
“Transnet’s crisis, including its own financial situation, is as bad or worse than Eskom’s. The only reason people aren’t up in arms is because we all experience load shedding directly, while only certain businesses experience the direct frustration of dealing with a crumbling logistics network,” Odendaal said.