The Durban Container Terminal (DCT) has adopted a multipronged approach to alleviate congestion issues at the terminal.
The Transnet Port Terminal (TPT) leadership team, under the guidance of CEO Nozipho Sithole, is working closely with operations with a view to finding sustainable solutions to the challenges being experienced at the DCT.
The interventions adopted include increased availability of equipment, the acquisition of new equipment, a robust maintenance regime, Transnetwide divisional integration and an innovative truck booking system.
“TPT’s maintenance team has been working in overdrive to ensure there is increased availability of equipment and to avoid unnecessary delays. Skilled personnel have also been recruited to improve the terminal’s maintenance capacity and competence, while a senior manager has also been deployed to manage the maintenance function,” Sithole said in a statement.
TPT has also been using equipment suppliers to carry out major refurbishments and other maintenance tasks that cannot be carried out by its employees.
“In addition, DCT Pier 2 has acquired 23 new straddle carriers, with the first two handed over at the end of August. Another five straddle carriers will be available by the end of September. The intention is to expedite the final delivery date from end-December by a number of weeks,” she said.
The DCT will also partner with external training providers and original-equipment manufacturers to provide equipment- specific training for operators and maintenance teams. Further, it plans to conclude contracts with providers of spare parts that are regularly consumed so that they are available at short notice when needed.
Operational planning and management have been intensified to increase operational efficiencies.
Sithole said the truck booking system, which was installed so that trucks call to the terminal by appointment and do not have to queue for hours on end, had seen an uptake of more than 70% from truckers in the few months since its implementation.
“Regarding the diversion of container volumes to other TPT facilities, this is continuously being pursued with all customers based on capacity, vessel profiles and the maintenance of schedule integrity,” she added.
TPT’s sister operating division in the Transnet group, Transnet Freight Rail, has also implemented interventions to ensure seamless integration, which is to the customers’ benefit.
These include the introduction of 11 bidirectional trains on the Durban–Johannesburg corridor, continued efforts to introduce additional container rail capacity on the Ngqura rail corridor and, where possible, rail opportunities on the Cape Town corridor will be used.
TPT is also reviewing its planning and operational processes to ensure the implementation of sustainable solutions over the longer term.
These include equipment fleet management plans ensuring optimal fleet use and replacement strategies, the development of a flexible human capital plan that will ensure the provision of terminal gangs being provided timeously in response to container volume demand and ongoing volume demand management processes between TPT and customers.
“With some interventions having already been implemented, recoveries have been achieved in some areas, while we await recoveries to kick in in other areas. Transnet’s commitment to handle all volumes from both a port and rail perspective remains a priority,” she said.