Delays at port of Durban reduced

Feb 19, 2003
Author: P&S

The National Ports Authority (NPA) of South Africa says that congestion at the port of Durban is nearing an end following the implementation of a marine services reservation slot system.

Since its introduction on 18 November 2002, the system has provided prompt berthing services to 98 % of ships calling at the port, claims the NPA.

The new system was introduced as part of the National Ports Authority’s efforts to increase ship handling capacity and enhance landlord services at Durban. It aims to eliminate delay, increase ship turnaround and provide a predictable service to shipping lines. The system was introduced as a direct response to extensive delays experienced at the port during peak seasons.

“Testament to the success of the project, in the week 9 – 15 January, statistics indicate that Durban serviced 168 of the 171 ships within an hour of them arriving” said a NPA spokesman.

The marine service is based on only four ships being able to move through the port entrance during a two-hour period, dividing the day into slots of two hours each. The reservation system is coupled with a three-tier tariff system of shipping lines being able to buy an A, B or C-class service from the port. Lines that buy themselves an A-class service receive priority.

Previously only certain types of ships, such as passenger and naval vessels were regarded as A-class and received priority.

The NPA says it intends rolling out the system to other South Africa commercial ports, with the rollout tied to service level agreements which are currently being negotiated with the lines or their agents.

“The marine services reservation system succeeds in minimising delays and provides a more predictable service to customers as it informs them at what time they will enter and leave the port. It also provides the port with the ability to identify exactly where delays are taking place,” said Ian Smith, administration manager of marine services.

According to Captain Dave Rennie, the chairman of the Container Liner Operators’ Forum (CLOF), his organisation had been involved in conjunction with NPA in the pilot marine services reservation system at the port of Durban.

“During the pilot, the turnaround time in terms of ship handling capacity improved quite tremendously. On the basis of the pilot we would welcome any initiative to roll it out to other ports,” said Rennie.

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