Port productivity figures don’t add up - transporter

The Port of Durban

Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) was achieving more with ten cranes two years ago at the Durban port than it was doing at present with 12.

“It is all smoke and mirrors,” said Kevin Martin of Freightliner Transport. “Considering they have 17 ship to shore cranes it was already questionable why they were only working ten of these two years ago.”

He said while a commitment to increase the number of cranes was kept and the port was regularly running 12 cranes now, productivity had not increased.

“Two weeks ago, out of the 12 working cranes, the port said it was averaging 19.5 moves an hour,” he said.

Operating 12 cranes for 21 hours a day would then see a total of 5040 moves, he said, yet the port only budgeted for 3900. “Working on their averages that they publish it does not make sense,” he told FTW. “Should you not plan then for 5040 moves as per your average movements of the cranes? Why would you cut it down by 1000 moves. That is not mentioning the fact that the terminals should be averaging far more than 19.5 moves an hour to begin with. They make it look like they are doing better because they are using 12 cranes now, but in fact they are not. They are slower with the 12 cranes than what they were with ten.”

Martin said there were fundamental issues not being addressed at the port. “There are at least 30 fewer straddles available daily than what TPT guaranteed industry. They have five cranes not working. There are billions of rands worth of equipment standing doing nothing.”

He said while industry was continuously told it was a temporary situation it had now been going on for years.

“One day they say there are 1500 line items and spares on order and the very next day it is 2000 and then suddenly 1000. How does that even make sense when no equipment comes back on line through all this number changing?”

He said it was understandable that the state-owned enterprise’s staff were demoralised. “This is a management problem. The people on the ground just put out fires all the time,” he said. “How can you punish your labour force for not making targets when 20% of your production equipment is mothballed?”



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