Coast KZN

03 Aug 2020

Back of port solutions explored to reduce Durban port congestion

Nothando Mthembu (Southlands Sun) Picture: General Manager at the Port of Durban, Moshe Motlohi.

In efforts to address the continuous complaints of illegal trucking, the multi-disciplinary Port of Durban Decongestion Task Team continues to collaborate on efforts to alleviate congestion at the Port of Durban and its surrounding road networks, which negatively impact communities in and around the port’s Bayhead Precinct.

Among the solutions mooted, are synchronising the operating hours of back of port container depots with the port’s 24/7 operating hours as well as introducing a holistic truck booking system that could provide an integrated view of expected truck volumes in order for all parties to plan more effectively.

Moshe Motlohi, General Manager at the Port of Durban, who chairs the team of private and public sector entities, said, “We don’t only want Transnet Port Terminals and Transnet Freight Rail to be the ones sequencing the arrival of trucks at the port. We want to have a booking system that will give the port intelligence around how many trucks are expected in each hour so that we can proactively decide how to deploy our resources and give port users full visibility so that they can plan when and when not to send vehicles to the port. We feel this will add value, lower costs and have a positive environmental impact.”

A mandatory automated truck booking system has already been introduced at Durban Container Terminal Pier 1 and Pier 2, while the Grindrod, FPT and Bulk Terminal depots have also piloted their own booking systems. Transporters visiting these terminals are required to notify the terminal operators ahead of time if they intend to call at the port.

Motlohi said the task team has already engaged the depots and terminal operators and presented options to them. “Stakeholders around the Bayhead and Island View precinct have welcomed the view of having an integrated system to control the number of trucks entering and exiting the port,” he said.

The task team has also held engagements with users of the existing Transnet truck booking system around the initial challenges experienced. The stream as well as the container terminals have been exploring improvements based on feedback from the transport industry.

Motlohi acknowledged that there is still work to be done on this front, but has no doubt that all parties will be accommodated. He said the task team was also making strides in engaging depot operators about the possibilities of operating for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

“This intervention is to sync the depot operations with the terminal operations, to ensure alignment and that trucks are dispatched accordingly for cargo to be collected even during less popular hours, such as weekends and after hours. That would reduce congestion in traditional peak periods.”

The Port of Durban Decongestion Task Team involves a broad range of private and public sector organisations involved in the port. Through nine targeted work streams the task team 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.