Stakeholder engagement addresses concerns of efficiencies at Port of Cape Town
Yesterday (27 July 2021), we held our third Port of Cape Town stakeholder engagement bringing together key representatives of the port logistics chain to provide an update on the progress made by the Port of Cape Town Task Team.
During the webinar, new Chief Executive of Transnet National Ports Authority, Pepi Silinga, provided stakeholders with an update on the broader vision and immediate plans to fast-track infrastructure investment at the Port of Cape Town.
Stakeholders raised concerns on the webinar about the Transnet IT disruptions which started last week Thursday and which have resulted in the implementation of temporary manual processes and reduced performance at ports across South Africa.
In response, Pepi Silinga expressed sincere apologies and regret that this has happened and reassured stakeholders that measures are being implemented to stabilise the system and that they “have identified the source of the issue and taken significant lessons from that particular process. But we think we should be on-stream by Friday at the latest."
On the matter, Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, said: “We are very concerned about the impact of the IT disruptions on performance at the Port of Cape Town. We continue to engage with port management and we have been informed that they are working hard to mitigate the impact. We have been informed that since the IT system challenges arose, Transnet have reverted to a manual process and have managed to complete four vessels and processed more than 2 200 containers at the Port of Cape Town. We also welcome the recent announcement by Transnet that the Navis customer links are now fully operational. We will continue to work closely with management to ensure there is reliable communication to all stakeholders in the port logistics chain.”
Further updates on the progress made by the Port of Cape Town Task Team included presentations on the findings of two research reports, which were commissioned by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism and which investigated the root causes of congestion at the Cape Town Container Terminal.
Cape Town Container Terminal Manager, Ngobile Ndlovu, and the National Project Lead on Truck Booking System, Thulas Dlamini, then shared with attendees how the recommendations from these research reports will support performance improvements.
Importantly the recommendations have been taken into account in the development of the new truck booking system, which is currently being rolled out at the Port of Durban, and which is scheduled to go live by the end of August at the Port of Cape Town.
The truck booking system will schedule truck arrivals and allocation of recourses. The system has already shown positive improvements at the Port of Durban, with truck turnaround times reduced from 313 minutes to 99 minutes without introducing additional or new equipment.
We welcome the announcement that the development of the Truck Staging Area has been expedited with the delivery moved forward from the end of 2026 to the end of 2023, which will also ease congestion both outside and inside the Port of Cape Town if implemented in conjunction with the truck booking system.
And, it is promising to hear that Transnet will increase the number of rubber-tyred gantries from 21 to 26 by November at the Port of Cape Town which will be just in time for the next table grape season in the Western Cape.
Reflecting on the presentations made during the webinar, Minister David Maynier, said, “The Port of Cape Town remains critical to our strategy to save jobs and rebuild the economy in the Western Cape. And so, I am encouraged by the updates provided during our engagement on the progress made to improve efficiencies at the Port of Cape Town. While these initiatives and announcements are welcomed, they will take some time to bear fruit and in the short to medium term there continue to be significant challenges which cause frustrations across the port logistics supply chain that need be addressed more immediately. And so we remain committed to building strong partnerships with all the stakeholders to achieve the vision for a world class competitive Port of Cape Town.”
Following the Port of Cape Town stakeholder webinar, Minister David Maynier and the Port of Cape Town management team joined Premier Alan Winde for a visit to the Belcon Terminal in Belville for a briefing from Transnet Freight Terminal on their road-to-rail strategy which will have a significant impact on reducing the congestion on the Port of Cape Town.
In his concluding remarks, Premier Alan Winde said, “It was a pleasure to join Minister Maynier today for a tour of the Belcon Terminal and to further receive a briefing from Transnet Freight Rail on the vision for and current performance of the Belcon.
“Going forward, we must continue to think critically and constructively about the role all stakeholders can play in making the Cape Town Port a world-class facility. We must strive to match the outputs of other major port-side cities and in doing so, bring on board private partners who can assist us in achieving this.
“The announcement by President Ramaphosa in June this year to corporatise Transnet National Ports and establish it as an independent subsidiary of Transnet SOC Ltd is a welcome step in this regard as it will ensure that we improve the functioning and competitiveness of our port.”
Listen to soundbyte from David Maynier:
Spokesperson for the Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities
(Responsible for the Provincial Treasury and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism)
Cell: 071 087 5150