Durban harbour has welcomed the government’s relaxation of lockdown regulations to decongest the ports. The COVID-19 National Command Council says the amendments will allow for the movement of cargo from ports to their intended destinations.
As well as cargo destined for export.
When lockdown kicked in, only essential goods were allowed to be imported through the ports.
But government says this has resulted in a back-up of non-essential goods.
“We have agreed that we must start decongesting the ports. So Items already at the ports for export must start being exported, so that as the lockdown is eased and companies start manufacturing and exporting they don’t find a port that is completely congested,” said Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
As Durban is the busiest port in South Africa and the second-largest container port in Africa, easing congestion there is crucial.
“If you now have to stick all your cargo and you can’t move it in and out of the port eventually you will reach a point where you will have no space even to be able to move the essential cargo so by then relaxing allowing nonessential cargo to move you now freeing that space,” said Captain Sabelo Mdlalose, acting chief harbourmaster at Transnet National Ports Authority.
There are no changes in passenger vessels, though.
“However what has been put in place prior that there is no passenger vessel coming in and out of the port still stands, the only thing that people are going to see and I know that people always question such things when they see passenger vessels coming to the Port for other reasons other than disembarking and embarking,” added Mdlalose.
Mdlalose says during the lockdown period, passenger vessels will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis – for example, if they need to refuel before continuing with their journey.
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