Winds close Durban terminal

Jul 2, 2003
Author: P&S

Strong winds reaching gale force that blew for much of today (Wednesday, July 2) forced the closure of the strategic Durban container terminal, which handles about 65 % of the country’s import and export container traffic.

According to a South African Port Operations spokesman, average delays to shipping are now expected to be in the region of 34 hours.

The terminal was closed at 10am because of exceptionally strong winds which struck the Durban area. SA Port Operations are hoping the winds will abate during the night allowing work to recommence and in the meantime a recovery plan was being immediately put into operation to make up for the time lost.

Shipping lines recently imposed a USD100 surcharge per TEU on all containers handled at the ports of Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, which they said would not be lifted until delays at all the ports had been reduced to within 16 hours measured over a two month period.

Since then all three ports including the Durban container terminal had absorbed increased turnover that is reaching record levels with delays being reduced to an average of between 12 and 20 hours at Durban.

However all three ports are subject to weather constraints, especially strong winds which the gantry cranes used to discharge containers from ships are highly sensitive to, with automatic cut-out devices once winds reach a certain speed.

A second cold front is expected to reach the Cape tomorrow bringing similar weather conditions to the south and east coast.

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