The various initiatives undertaken by the multidisciplinary Port of Durban Decongestion Task Team in recent months to relieve traffic pressure and congestion in the port’s Bayhead Precinct and surrounding road networks are finally showing result.
The precinct leading to the port’s Durban Container Terminals (DCT) and other private depots is served by a single main entry motorway, Bayhead Road, which has been plagued by heavy truck traffic congestion attributed mainly to operational inefficiencies at the container terminal. This creates challenges on both the waterside and on the landside, affecting the entire supply chain and impacting shipping lines, the trucking fraternity and the rail sector.
Moshe Motlohi, General Manager at the Port of Durban, who leads the team of private and public sector entities, said the body meets fortnightly and through nine targeted workstreams has adopted an integrated approach to tackle the root causes of Bayhead traffic related congestion and to ensure improved coordination, planning, operations, cargo flows and capacity.
Image: Hongqi Zhang
“The first workstream was tasked with ensuring that less pressure is placed on Bayhead Road through proper resource planning and allocation. A key intervention was the reintroduction by terminal operator Transnet Port Terminals of a Mandatory Truck Appointment system, which is considered best practice in the container sector globally,” he told railwaysafrica.com.
Since 27 March 2020 the system has helped to reduce waiting times and enabled the terminal to control the rate of collections and deliveries and use landside capacity optimally. This system also allows planned volumes to be spread across the day.
The Decongestion Task Team has also had to ensure that industry acknowledges that in order for the current picture to change, depots around the port would need to be in a position to operate 24 hours a day / seven days a week to ensure that they are aligned with the operating hours of the container terminals, that trucks are dispatched accordingly and that cargo can be collected even during less popular hours, such as weekends and after hours.