Durban port surcharge lifted

Apr 12, 2005
Author: P&S

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In a sudden development today (Tuesday, 12 April 2005) a number of shipping lines that imposed a container surcharge at the port of Durban several years ago agreed to lift the charges with effect 1 May 2005.

The turnabout came after South African minister of public enterprises, Alec Erwin rebuked the shipping lines for not lifting the 0 per TEU surcharge. Erwin said the lines had ignored the improvements to productivity at the Durban Container Terminal, where SA Port Operations had provided additional infrastructure and introduced measures aimed at improving ship turnaround times.

Erwin indicated that government would find it difficult to look favourably on companies that continue imposing surcharges when it comes to choosing future partners for port services – an apparent reference to future port concessioning.

The surcharges came into effect at the three South African container ports (Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town) on 15 May 2003 (see news report dated 8 May – The Sword Falls in the archived section of Ports & Ships) when the shipping companies operating between Europe and South Africa advised that a ‘temporary port additional’ would remain in place until the average delay to ships berthing in each South African port, as measured over a two-month period, reduced below 16 hours.

The surcharge was subsequently lifted at Port Elizabeth and Cape Town but has remained in force at Durban.

This afternoon Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), Safmarine and DAL announced the lifting of the surcharge as from 1 May.

“MSC is responding to the call by minister Alec Erwin by acknowledging that port productivity has improved considerably since the imposition about two years ago of a 0 per TEU surcharge. MSC will lift all surcharges as from 1 May 2005,” Captain Salvatore Sarno told Ports & Ships.

In its response Safmarine and DAL issued a statement by Gail Kelly of the Safmarine Agency.

“As from 1 May 2005, Safmarine and DAL will suspend the collection of the South African port additional surcharge for cargo moving through Durban.”

Kelly said the port situation in Durban had improved significantly but would be monitored regularly, not only at Durban but the other ports as well.



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