News24.com | Transnet expects to brave more rain as it works to restore access to Durban port

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Part of Caversham road in Pinetown has been washed away on April 12, 2022 in Durban.


Part of Caversham road in Pinetown has been washed away on April 12, 2022 in Durban.


Gallo Images/Darren Stewart

  • Transnet said it is identifying alternative access routes for trucks heading to its terminals at its Durban port after a hellish week of flooding.
  • Weather forecasts indicate that more rain is coming, as contractors prepare to repair a washed-away portion of Bayhead Road.
  • Transnet said shipping resumed on Thursday after clearing debris while a fuel pipeline was restored and the Kings Rest railway has been partially reopened.

Transnet said it is identifying alternative access routes for trucks heading to its terminals at its Durban port after a hellish week of flooding.

This follows a return to operation for Transnet’s Durban Port. Road freight and logistics were rocked by the damage to road infrastructure from severe rain, prompting Transnet to suspend operations at its Durban port as a precaution on Tuesday.

Transnet spokesperson Ayanda Shezi told Fin24 on Thursday that the damage assessment by Transnet and the Department of Public Enterprises was still ongoing.

A statement from Transnet on Thursday evening indicated that the entity had conducted a damage assessment to the port in Durban and appointed contractors to restore Bayhead Road to allow the flow of traffic to and from the port.

“Contractors are expected to work throughout the weekend on repair work of the washed away area of Bayhead Road. There is rain forecast for eThekwini over the weekend, which could impact the conclusion of this work.” 

READ | Eskom, Transnet intervene in flooding impact as Durban port resumes operation

Transnet added that an access road to the Island View container terminal had been identified for use in the Bluff area and the entity got agreement from the community and authorities to relax municipal by-laws to allow it to give trucks access to the terminal.

“The port will continue to prioritise evacuation of essential goods, including food, medical supplies, and petroleum products during this time.”

According to the statement, shipping at the Durban port resumed on Thursday afternoon after debris had been cleared. The fuel pipeline was also operational and King’s Rest railway has been partially reopened.

Meanwhile, Road Freight Association (RFA) CEO Gavin Kelly told Fin24 that there were far fewer trucks travelling in affected areas.

“The restriction of movement is thus a huge percentage of freight movements. All imports and exports that move through the Port of Durban are currently affected. Access routes are being assessed and there may be some further information available from next week,” said Kelly.

READ | Flood-stricken KZN may face more insurance premium hikes

Road freight volumes decreased significantly as roads were damaged and truckers already en route to collect or deliver loads could not complete their trips on schedule. The national government kicked off its interventions through the Department of Public Enterprises, Transnet, and Eskom on Wednesday.

Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan and Transnet Group CEO Portia Derby visited the Port of Durban on Wednesday afternoon to assess the extent of the flood damage.

PTA Petroleum issued a circular to its customers on Wednesday in which its operations director, Kay Chetty, said due to extensive damage to road, water, and electricity infrastructure, the company has had to suspend all of its operations.

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