05 December 2023
South Africa’s logistics group Transnet gradually resuming operations at its Durban port on Wednesday morning. Following the severe flooding in KwaZulu-Natal province, which resulted in port operations suspension as a precautionary measure.
Therefore, the country’s department of public enterprises (DPE) said it is working with Transnet and stakeholders in resuming operations at Durban. These include the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government, eThekwini municipality, and the country’s power utility Eskom to stabilize operations at the port.
Priority interventions include repairing Bayhead Road, which is the main access to the container terminals at the port and Island View, and investigating alternative access roads into the port while a section that washed away at the outfall of the Umhlathuzana canal into the port is under repairing.
“Shipping, expected to resume once safety established for marine craft and vessel navigation,”DPE
“As a precautionary measure, operations across the terminals have been temporarily stopped. A command center has been set up with Transnet National Ports Authority, the operators and our customers to monitor the activities.”Ayanda Shezi, Transnet spokeswoman
Meanwhile, Transnet is carrying out ongoing assessments on the rail network in Durban and its surrounds. Hence, aiming to determine the extent of damage before any train services into and out of the port can resume. The North Coast, South Coast, and mainline from Durban to Pietermaritzburg remain closed. There has been no damage to the pipeline’s infrastructure, and fuel supply will continue into the inland market.
Transnet’s operations in Richards Bay have not applied any suspensions. However, according to the statement, the “terminals are operating less efficiently, with challenges experienced in handling wet cargo,”.
Note that, South Africa is this year experiencing the La Nina weather phenomenon. A weather station at Mount Edgecombe on the outskirts of Durban received 307 mm of rainfall within 24 hours on Monday — the most since it began gathering data 62 years ago and almost double the previous high in 2019.
The heaviest rainfall in at least six decades in KwaZulu-Natal has claimed more than 300 lives, damaged roads, interrupted port operations, and washed away houses. The head of South Africa’s national disaster management center Mmaphaka Tau has declared the flood-stricken province a disaster, enabling the government to provide relief funding for the reconstruction of the area.