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Skeleton staff to man Transnet Port Terminals during lockdown to enable movement of essential goods 

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Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) have said that they note President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of a 21-day  lockdown of the country to stop the spread of the coronavirus and will support the declarations made. At midnight on Thursday 26 March 2020, South Africa will go on a nationwide lock-down with the exception of essential services.

In a letter to South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF) and South African Association of Ship Operators and Agents (SAASOA), TPT General Manager Sales and New Business Development, Siyabulela Mhlaluka outlined the plan of action for all TPT terminals.

The following is the position of TPT regarding the application of our terminals to ensure that critical business continuity services are supported in the best interests of South Africa:

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1.  In order to remain open to support the essential services, whilst still reducing exposure between our staff and others, TPT will operate on a reduced staff basis:

  • In Durban Container Terminals (DCT) Pier 2 the operating staff will be reduced to two berths.
  • DCT Pier 1, Ngqura Container Terminal (NCT), Port Elizabeth Container Terminal (PECT) and Cape Town Container Terminal (CTCT) will all operate on a single berth operation with approximately half of the current staff compliment.
  • Cape Town Multi-Purpose Terminal (CTMPT) will handle containers on a single berth.
  • Durban Point will operate on a single berth for both containers and essential break bulk goods.
  • East London will not handle containers during this period.

2. Essential services, as defined by the Government of South Africa, will be prioritised by TPT. As such:

  • TPT will continue to facilitate imports and exports of containers as allowed. Transhipments will be handled on an exception basis only with prior approval from TPT.
  • Essential containers will be prioritised over non-essential containers. As such we discourage any non-essential containers during this period (for example empty GP containers, mineral containers etc.).
  • Each vessel will be required to provide a mandatory import evacuation plan prior to berthing, to maintain stack fluidity during this period. This plan must be honoured in order to avoid the severe consequence of the terminal being blocked out during this period. We require all clearance and assignment of containers prior to berthing. It will remain the responsibility of the shipping line to evacuate said containers to a suitable facility within the free period. TPT reserves the right not to berth a vessel should these requirements not be met.
  • TPT reserves the right to prioritise the berthing of vessels on a first planned, first-served basis in all terminals (in line with the declaration of Force Majeure, the CTOC berthing windows will not apply during this period). However, TPT also reserves the right in its sole discretion, to change the order of berthing in order to prioritise the handling of essential containers.
  • Landside, inclusive of rail, will remain open during this period, albeit on a reduced resource basis. During this time, DCT Pier 2 will operate a mandatory truck appointment system for all containers.
  • The acceptance of export intents on rail will only be allowed if they can be physically exported through the applicable terminal. g. Reefer containers will continue to be prioritised over non-essential exports.

3. Some of the containers which will be imported may be for cargo owners who have temporarily ceased operations during this period and cannot receive the container. In this case, it is the responsibility of the shipping line/freight forwarder to move these containers to a depot or bonded warehouse within the free period.

The above application will apply from 22h00 on 26 March 2020 until 06h00 on 17 April 2020. We reserve the right to immediately change the application of the above rulings as the need permits.

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Please urgently communicate this updated notice with your Shipping Line members and other affected stakeholders. We thank you in advance for your continued support.

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