Several large shipping companies are starting to avoid Cape Town due to long delays caused by Covid-19. Business Insider speaks of documents from shipping giants MSC, Ocean Network Express (ONE), and CMA CGM detailing concern over the levels of congestion at the port. These are some of the biggest shipping companies in the world.
Both MSC and ONE have removed Cape Town from their main Europe shipping line, and CMA CGM has begun charging extra to deliver cargo to the port.
On Tuesday, Transnet issued a statement saying they were taking various steps, including boosting their numbers to help get back up to speed. Oscar Borchards, Acting Terminal Manager at the Port of Cape Town talked about new measures that are being implemented to get back to full capacity after a backlog caused by the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
Borchards acknowledges that at the start of lockdown at the end of March the port was operating at only 40% capacity. The reason for the lower capacity has been caused mostly by staff becoming infected with Covid-19, he says. It is predominantly illnesses heavily affected by the coronavirus.
Borchards added they have stringent safety measures at the workplace which include social distancing, separating staff facilities, and raising awareness. The port is implementing special measures to alleviate the backlog which has resulted in cargo sitting on ships for weeks at a time. It needed is to strongly collaborate with our customers, planning more effectively.
The port has also worked more closely with marine operations to reduce downtime for berthing and unberthing vessels, and it has embarked on a recruitment programme and stepped up training, adds Borchards.