Transnet has committed to continue collaboration with industry to accelerate plans to resolve congestion of trucks going into the Port of Richards Bay.
This follows an urgent meeting last week with customers, local businesses, civil society, and other stakeholders, in the interest of public road safety and as a demonstration that the Terminal is committed to conducting its business in a sustainable manner.
In the meeting, local businesses presented proposals of pockets of land to be used for truck staging, as an interim measure. Transnet Acting Group Chief Executive, Michelle Phillips directed port management to develop a comprehensive plan of action that will be in the interest of all stakeholders. Ms Phillips said Transnet is prioritising measures to ensure that rail network is back on track with speed.
In the meeting, it was also agreed that the embargo on vessel nominations for vessels carrying road cargo to the Richards Bay Terminal is going to stay in place until further notice in the interests of the safety of all the port’s stakeholders.
The decision will be reviewed once a a solution has been found to the influx of trucks in the City of Umhlathuze, which has resulted in extensive traffic congestion.
To date the terminal has 19 coal vessels at outer anchor, 12 of which are without enough cargo. It is only processing trucks for vessels accepted and appearing on the Barchart. The Barchart is a schedule of vessels showing berthing time, cargo to be loaded and the tonnage.
Last week’s meeting preceded a visit by President Cyril Ramaphosa to the port on Thursday, at which he was briefed on the rationale behind the decision and the status of the conveyor belts that were damaged by fire in 2021. Repairs to one of them are due to be finished in December, paving the way for it to be commissioned at the beginning of the year.
Once the conveyor belts are in full operation, an estimated 400 trucks that currently shuttle cargo from the back of the port to the coal terminal will be taken off the road, easing traffic congestion.
Contracts for repairing the remaining two conveyor belts are expected to be awarded soon, with a strong possibility of them coming online in mid-2024.
The terminal regrets the inconvenience this may cause but is committed to fulfilling its responsibility of preventing threats to the welfare of any of its stakeholders while carrying out its operations.