RFA Commends Transnet Port Terminals' Strategies to Alleviate Backlog at Durban Port

Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has unveiled plans to address the ongoing vessel backlog at Durban Port, earning praise from the Road Freight Association (RFA).

The initiative focuses on optimizing existing infrastructure, including utilizing a rail link between back-of-port facilities and the terminal for loading import containers, with the aim of reducing truck congestion.

According to TPT, the rail connection from back-of-port facilities, such as those in Johannesburg or Mpumalanga, to the port terminal is a daily occurrence.

Notably, empty trains returning to back-of-port facilities after delivering export containers at the port terminals are now being loaded with import containers at the Durban Container Terminal Pier 2.

Gavin Kelly, CEO of the RFA, expressed support for the measures, stating that there have been positive developments after years of promises from Transnet.

“Following great pressure through the RFA and many other industries – which led to the formation of the National Logistics Crisis Committee – there has been some movement in the right direction.

What is being reported by Transnet now is what should have been done many, many years ago.”

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Kelly added that having dedicated staging areas for trucks and facilities designed for the vehicles, drivers and the efficient flow of traffic was something the RFA had advocated for.

“These are not new ideas – but finally there seems to be some light.

The RFA acknowledges and appreciates the moves being made at the Port of Durban.”

Norton Rose Fulbright director and Master Mariner Malcolm Hartwell endorsed the concept of back-of-port facilities, highlighting the potential for reducing truck congestion. He acknowledged that progress has been made in addressing the vessel backlog, noting a decrease in anchored ships from 60 to 27.

Jitesh Neerpath, director of Jetrans Transport, welcomed developments at Durban Container Terminal Pier 2 but raised concerns about delays at Pier 1. He emphasized the need for measures to reduce waiting times, particularly on Bayhead Road.

Professor Irrshad Kaseeram from the University of Zululand’s economics department commended Transnet’s adoption of new operational strategies, including addressing truck congestion with rail alternatives and engaging with customers for improved planning, foreseeing positive impacts on efficiency.