The resumption of movement of road freight got off to a slow start on the N3 road linking Gauteng and Durban, with the backlog at the Port of Durban is only expected to clear in the next three to four weeks.
The port has been operating on skeleton staff as most workers feared for their lives following the recent violent looting.
Some companies are still reluctant to move their cargo on the N3 road after its reopening on Friday. They say more security on the road will allay their safety concerns. For the free flow of cargo, the road freight network is key to clear the current backlog at the Port of Durban. For now, many local exporters still cannot access the Durban port.
“It means that factories must cut back or even stop production because you cannot keep on producing when there is no cargo, in agriculture – they been pouring milk in the field. The new developments of convoy for protection of trucks will help but there’s huge losses which cannot be recovered,” says SA Association of Freight Forwarders’ Mike Walwyn.
Clean-up operations under way around the Mooi River plaza:
Gradual return back to normal
The Citrus Growers Association of South Africa has advised its members not to rush their deliveries to the Durban port following the reopening of N3.
“Please do not send your fruits to the port now that N3 is open because we only going to transfer the problem from the packhouse to the port. The port precinct will become gridlocked and that won’t help anybody rather keep it there if you have a slot in cold storage in Durban send your fruits through,” says Justin Chadwick, the CEO Citrus Growers Association of SA.
New car dealerships have seen their stock levels dwindle in past few weeks – with no new deliveries in sight.
“Less clients are coming to the floors, we get messages from customers that they are afraid to come into the dealership. On top of that our stock units coming from Durban not coming through anymore,” says dealer principal, James Aldhouse,
Relative calm may have been restored in most parts of KwaZulu-Natal, but the Transnet Port Authority is battling to return many of its employees back to work. The United National Transport Union (UNTU) says the conditions are still not conducive for all employees to return to work.
“People are still battling to get to work, transport is not available and because of the shortage of food is creating problems for people to get to work yesterday when we had a meeting with Transnet amount of people reported for work increased,” says the general secretary of UNTU, Steve Harris.
UNTU is appealing to workers to return to work only if it’s safe to do so.
Assessing the extent of damage along the Mooi River Toll Plaza:
Source: SABC News (sabcnews.com)