A total of 63 vessels were recorded at the Port of Durban’s outer anchorage today and of these, 20 were destined for the Durban Container Terminals (DCT) Pier 1 and Pier 2 managed by Transnet Port Terminals (TPT). With all initiatives employed, it would take Pier 1 seven weeks to clear the backlog and 15 weeks for Pier 2 – or less.
This comes after an internal task team made up of specialised disciplines recently concluded an exercise eliminating waste in the system. They collected performance data across all shifts, analysed each vessel and the workings of all cranes to note arising problems, identify limiting factors and quantify improvement levers. The initiative was one of many rapid improvement processes in place as the terminals worked around the clock with industrial engineers from the task team remaining at the terminals to maximise berth performance daily. According to Earle Peters, TPT Durban Terminals Managing Executive, the immediate focus now was stabilising operations through short-term interventions.
In line with the overall turnaround plan Transnet shared with the South African Parliament, the terminals have employed overall equipment effectiveness and advanced modules of container management system Navis, to address operational inefficiencies and eliminate waste in the system. There was a recruitment drive to fill positions for the newly implemented fourth shift that will ensure sustained operations. The awarding of the maintenance services contract for the existing equipment to Transnet Engineering has been finalized and the digital tracking and monitoring of key performance indicators on the ground is in progress. The implementation of the original equipment manufacturers (OEM) strategy for the acquisition of container handling equipment over the next 10 Years and the asset life cycle management over the next 20 years has also been finalised. Also, the awarding of the spares and maintenance services contract for the existing equipment namely ship to shore cranes, rubber tyred gantry cranes, straddle carriers, reach stackers and empty container handlers was in the process of award with delivery of service expected before the end of the year. The refurbishment and maintenance of some of this equipment has begun in order to improve asset utilisation.
A 24-hour maintenance regime had also begun to secure the availability and reliability of existing equipment in the interim.
“We are confident in our ability having faced major unforeseen challenges successfully in the past, some much bigger than our current position,” said Peters. He added that the container sector customers had demonstrated immense support during this current challenge and that negotiations with shipping lines on releasing the congestion fee surcharge for import containers were ongoing and inspired current recovery plans.
At Pier 2, the plan was to ramp up the tempo from 2500 – 4000 containers per day over a three–month period. Pier 1 would increase from 1 200 to 1 500 containers per day
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