Transnet has introduced a number of solutions to deal with operational backlogs at the Port of Cape Town, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the region. Through its operating divisions – Port Terminals and the National Ports Authority – Transnet has introduced bi-weekly virtual meetings with all the port multi-stakeholders, including private operators and customers, to find a seamless way to deal with the port backlogs resulting from the country’s lockdown regulations and worsened by COVID-19’s impact on workers.
To alleviate pressure at the terminals, 20 employees from the Durban Container Terminal (DCT) have volunteered to be deployed to the container and the multi-purpose terminals at the Port Of Cape Town. The employees from DCT are a combination of driver articulated vehicles (DAVs), rubber tyre gantry (RTG) cranes and ship-to-shore (STS) cranes drivers with over 100 years of collective work experience. This will improve movement of cargo and ensure staff availability.
The 20 employees have been screened and tested for COVID-19, and their deployment will not affect operations at DCT. Both the container and multi-purpose terminals at the port have been operating at a reduced capacity since the introduction of the lockdown regulations. However, with the easing of the lockdown, port activities have increased.
The container terminal is currently operating at 60% while the multi-purpose terminal at a 75% capacity. The portside, which is responsible for marine operations, is only operating at a 60% human resource capacity, but able to offer full marine services.
Acting Chief Operations Officer at Transnet Port Terminals, Velile Dube, said, “Despite all the challenges, we have been able to reduce the number of vessels waiting at anchorage from 11 vessels to 5 vessels today. We have managed to increase the number of gangs from four to five and now are receiving additional staff to help with shifts.”
The terminal is also practising strict physical distancing and sanitising protocols, with additional ablution facilities added to ensure that there is no sharing of these between shifts.