Two of Transnet’s port terminals remain operational, despite a fire outbreak two weeks ago at Richards Bay Multi-Purpose Terminal, Africa’s largest coal export facility, and more recently at Durban’s Grain Export Terminal at the Maydon Wharf precinct.
Transnet says it has deployed its technical team to assess the extent of the damage, and although no injuries were reported, it says investigations are underway and a board of inquiry is being set up to determine the root cause of the fires.
“Should it be found that any of the incidents were as a result of operational negligence on the part of any Transnet employee, further action will be taken,” the port operator promises.
The company also says that the Transnet National Ports Authority has issued Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) with letters of notice for TPT to ensure that all affected areas are safe before any operations can resume.
“The fires were contained and extinguished. Business continuity plans have been invoked and Transnet continues to work with all impacted stakeholders to minimise disruptions and ensure that repairs are concluded as quickly as possible.”
According to Transnet, significant progress has been made in restoring operations in Richards Bay. It says five of the seven conveyor belts have been fully restored and are back in operation. For the remaining conveyor belts, the port has deployed manual handling to ensure continuity of operations.
Meanwhile, at the Port of Durban’s Maydon Wharf Precinct, there are currently two conveyor belts: one handling grain and the other woodchips.
“The grain conveyor belt was affected by the fire after it had completed loading a grain vessel. The terminal is working around the clock to ensure that the belt is restored and back in operation by the time the next grain vessel arrives at the port on 26 October 2021,” it said in a statement.
Transnet added that it had met with the leadership of the agricultural industry on Monday and it will be working with them to ensure support for a bumper grain season.
Palesa Mofokeng is a Moneyweb intern