Ports in the firing line over ‘creeping inefficiencies’

The Port of Durban.

The South African Association of Ship Operators and Agents (Saasoa) has urged the country’s maritime sector authorities to improve administrative efficiencies at the country’s eight commercial ports.

This in order to improve productivity in the shipping sector according to Saasoa chief executive officer, Peter Besnard.

“It is all very well that the shipping subsector in the country is correctly expected to show more productivity, but there are creeping constraints,” he said. “Top of which are declining administrative and related efficiencies at the country’s ports.”

Besnard singled out Durban and Richards Bay as ports that were increasingly showing declining efficiencies in ship cargo handling, pointing out that requisite tooling, equipment and manning were becoming a problem and contributing to the stifling of productivity in the sector.

“As things stand, anything between 14 to 17 days are being lost by the shipping subsector, at great cost, due to creeping inefficiencies,” he said.

“I get reports every morning that between 4 500 to 5 000 containers stacked underground are ready for collection and they are not moving,” added Besnard. “Those containers are in a congested state and 2 500 of those containers are unassigned which means that no truckers are assigned to move them.”

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