OPINION – What is going on in the Port of Durban, with congestion at the container terminal, managed and operated by Transnet Port Terminals?
Ships are delayed outside and others forced to bypass the port, while in the terminal itself, go-slows by discontented staff continue with under-performances in sub-Saharan Africa’s most important port.
What is going on in the port of Durban where chronic congestion on roads leading to the port continues year after year and is getting worse?
Trucks are unnecessarily delayed and forced to queue for hours along Bayhead Road in lanes stretching several kilometres, and where the two/three lanes leading to the container terminal remain gridlocked, with one other lane of the outgoing section having to be used contraflow towards the terminal.
What is going on in the port of Durban where smaller firms are at risk of closing down, if they haven’t done so already? In some cases, people are facing retrenchment – this in a port that ought to shine as a beacon to all other African ports. Instead it faces becoming another Lagos, with the reputations of Apapa and Tin Can Island to add to its deteriorating reputation.
What is going on in the port of Durban where there are repeated complaints of a lack of equipment and infrastructure? What happened to the impressive orders that were once boasted about, of an increasing fleet of over a hundred straddle carriers just a few short years ago?
Today the fleet numbers are in the 60s. What happened to Transnet’s much-vaunted policy of building capacity before demand?
What is going on in the port of Durban where machinery breaks down because “someone didn’t add oil” or some other basic maintenance procedure? Have we fallen into the position where we wait until machinery and equipment is broken or worn out before action is taken?
If the situation is that the port does lack sufficient equipment, why weren’t steps taken years ago in anticipation of this? It isn’t the first time Transnet has been caught with its pants down.
What is going on in the port of Durban where there is a delay with the much-publicised berth lengthening and deepening project.
Maydon Wharf berth deepening projects were carried out competently and successfully. Why not the same at the container terminal north quay? We know this is a legal matter but must things stand still at the port while the lawyers argue?
What is going on at the port of Durban where top-level delegations involving ministers and politicians have to be brought in to be told about the problems and challenges and to provide fixes, but seemingly can’t, because where are the results?
When will the port of Durban stop being run by acting managers with permanent (and wise) appointments being made?
Most important of all, what is going on in the port of Durban where so many of the work force remain demotivated? The problems began when management in ivory towers took decisions to tamper with the incentive bonus scheme that workers were used to, which led to motivated staff.
It was then that go-slows evolved at Ngqura port and then at Durban.
What is happening in the port of Durban where there is talk that Transnet Port Terminals might declare force majeure in the face of all their problems. And what will be the international and local ramifications of such a drastic step?
What is happening in the port of Durban that has at least some international shipping lines thinking of congestion surcharges?
When will the port of Durban begin to shine again like the beacon it aspires to be?
Terry Hutson keeps a beady eye on shipping activities, but particularly those related to Africa and South Africa. For shipping activities, news and schedules please contact him at 082 331 5775, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website www.africaports.co.za for ships in port and other maritime-related data.
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