It’s been a bad week for the South African truck industry.
First, there was a series of arson truck attacks that began Sunday night on the N3 in KwaZulu-Natal and spread like wildfire to Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
Now news has emerged that Transnet has requested that no trucks be sent to the port of Richards Bay while unspecified “environmental management issues” are resolved. Daily Maverick He realizes that the coal that was transported by rail to the coal station at Richards Bay was unaffected.
“TransNet’s National Port Authority (TNPA) is implementing measures to alleviate potential truck congestion at the Port of Richards Bay, following the issuance of a stop-work certificate of non-compliance on July 13, 2023 to one of the terminal operators,” TransNet said on Friday. to respond to Daily Maverick inquiries.
“The certification requires the terminal operator to cease operations until environmental management issues are resolved at the specified terminals and other facilities operated by the terminal operator. TNPA urged carriers to stop sending trucks to the port until the terminal operator complies with the terms of the cease-fire certificate.”
Staff are urged to exercise the highest level of caution in and around the port, particularly during peak hours.
According to an internal document sent to the staff and obtained by me Daily MaverickThis refers to dry and multi-purpose casting plants.
“The port management would like to inform all employees of the potential for increased traffic congestion in and around the port as a result of a work stoppage non-compliance certificate issued today to one of the terminal operators,” the document reads. The certificate instructed the terminal operator to cease operations until environmental management issues at the dry cargo and multi-purpose terminals as well as other facilities operated by the terminal operator are resolved.
“We urge staff to exercise the highest level of caution in and around the port, particularly during peak hours.”
Exports through the port include wood chips and copper concentrates.
Daily Maverick He realizes that everything but the railroad’s coal has stopped at Richards Bay. Furthermore, the rail link to Maputo has a one-week derailment near Waterfall Boven/Onder. This has led to massive congestion: the Lebombo border post has a 20-kilometre backlog of trucks.
The snag at the port of Richards Bay would add to South Africa’s mounting logistical problems, which cost the economy tens of billions of rand annually in lost mineral exports. The trucking industry is still suffering from the wave of arson attacks in recent days. And almost certainly “environmental management issues” are of concern.
The area has also been a hotbed of social unrest linked to crime that has at times affected the operations of Richards Bay Minerals, a unit of global mining giant Rio Tinto. This at least has subsided in recent months.
Meanwhile, the trucking industry—vital to the economy—is under tremendous pressure. Snarl-ups are expensive, and consumers may end up paying the price. DM (Reporting by Ray Nipple)