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Durban port suffers major disruption over violence

Operations have also been badly affected at the Richards Bay port and on a national freight rail line, logistics and freight companies said.
Image: REUTERS/Rogan Ward

South Africa’s Durban port has suffered major disruption after days of unrest, and operations have also been badly affected at the Richards Bay port and on a national freight rail line, logistics and freight companies said on Wednesday.

The violence erupted last week in KwaZulu-Natal province, where Durban is located, after the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma but it has rapidly escalated in widespread looting and destruction in several other provinces.

Durban has one of the busiest shipping terminals on the African continent, and is a hub for exports including agricultural commodities and imports like crude oil and petroleum products. Richards Bay is home to a major coal export terminal.

State logistics group Transnet said in a statement that service levels at Durban and Richards Bay were impacted “as the entire supply chain is closed,” including roads into and out of the ports.

The South African Association of Freight Forwarders told Reuters that port health services at Durban had been closed, effectively preventing vessels from berthing because Covid-19 testing could not be carried out.

“This situation is exacerbated by launch crews also not being available,” it said.

Juan Enslin, managing director at Leschaco Group, said his logistics firm had to leave several containers in Durban port for safety reasons.

“We therefore will fall way behind in our delivery schedules. Cargo that has been on the road was also diverted,” he said.

On the impact on freight rail, Transnet said force majeure had been declared on the NATCOR rail line that connects Durban to Gauteng province that is home to the country’s financial and economic powerhouse, Johannesburg.

Force majeure allows certain terms of an otherwise legally binding agreement to be waived due to unavoidable circumstances.

Transnet said it was deploying resources to avert commercial fuel operations being affected, after being served with a force majeure notice by the SAPREF oil refinery.

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Wake up President! Announce State of Emergency with severe consequences to those who continue looting! With severe I don’t mean a slap on the wrist!

People are not getting it, that is exactly what RET faction are playing for. There is a massive political chess game playing out here and people not thinking about what RET trying to get in place.

The army and police delay is not what it seems, RET were trying to provoke a Marikana to then set the country fully alight with EFF and others waiting to climb in as everyone has a lot to lose if the corruption trials start from the commission. The looting was bad, but I think we came a lot closer to SA being fully on fire politically then we all realise.

This politics thing is a mess. Not just South Africa but across the world we seeing that people in charge battling to cope and manage all the issues as well as the sabotage from political enemies. Poltical enemies then get themselves in charge – repeat cycle.

Boom there goes the South African Runt commodities export support.

End of comments.

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