Wednesday, March 20, 2019

From Container Freight to Bulk Cargoes and Beyond the Situation is Sunny in South Africa

Growth All Round Last Year for Key Port
Shipping News Feature
SOUTH AFRICA – It seems it was growth all round last year for the Port of Durban with figures just published for 2018 by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) showing a jump in container freight and both dry and liquid bulk cargoes.

Container volumes in the Port of Durban ended 9.5% higher for the year ending December 2018 at 2,956,670 TEUs compared to the 2,699,978 TEUs handled in 2017. Of this, container imports grew by 10% in 2018 and exports by a mighty 17%. These are the highest volumes handled by the port in the last seven years.

Dry bulk volumes grew by 5.8% from 2017 to 2018, driven mainly by exports while imports remained fairly stable. The biggest growth in imports was seen from rice and associated products, wheat, malt, fertiliser products, coal and coke, while maize, sugar and chrome ore exports also bolstered dry bulk volumes. Meanwhile liquid bulk volumes grew 3.1% from 28.231 million kilolitres in 2018 to 29 million kilolitres in 2019. This was mainly attributed to demand factors as well as South Africa being a net importer of crude.

The port also noted growth in its automotive throughput with imports growing by 4% and exports by more than 15% year on year excluding transhipment and coastwise cargo. The Port of Durban has handled a total of just over 487,000 units in 2018 which is the highest since 2013 when a throughput of 503,000 units was recorded.

Break bulk volumes in 2018 were relatively on par with 2017 volumes. Throughput in this sector is erratic with some cargoes also migrating to other forms of handling such as the containerisation and dry bulk sectors. Port of Durban Acting Port Manager, Nokuzola Nkowane, said:

“The Port of Durban continues to work with terminal operators and other stakeholders to ensure improvements in terminal productivity levels for quicker ship turnaround times. Operational efficiencies are the focus to drive volume performance.”

Photo: The Port of Durban, with the port’s container precinct in the foreground and the Island View Precinct in the background.