Twenty employees from Durban Container Terminal (DCT) have volunteered to be redeployed to the container and the multi-purpose terminals at the Port Of Cape Town in a bid to alleviate pressure at the terminals, Transnet has said in a statement.
The seconding of specialised staff to assist Cape Town comes after specialised staff working at the port started staying at home, fearing Covid-19 infection in what used to be South Africa’s worst pandemic-affected city.
As a result the port was functioning on skeleton staff with inevitable berthing delays which forced major lines to temporarily discontinue Cape Town calls.
In the latest development Transnet said that the employees from DCT were a combination of driver articulated vehicles, rubber tyre gantry cranes and ship-to-shore crane drivers with over 100 years of collective work experience.
“This will improve movement of cargo and ensure staff availability.”
The freight and rail parastatal added that the volunteers had been screened and tested for Covid-19, and their deployment would not affect operations at DCT.
“Both the container and multi-purpose terminals at the Port of Cape Town have been operating at reduced capacity since the introduction of the lockdown regulations.
“However, with the easing of the lockdown, port activities have increased. The container terminal is currently operating at 60% and the multi-purpose terminal at 75% capacity.
“The portside, which is responsible for marine operations, is only operating at 60% human resource capacity, but is able to offer full marine services.
Acting chief operations officer at Transnet Port Terminals, Velile Dube, said: “Despite all the challenges, we have been able to reduce the number of vessels waiting at anchorage from 11 to five vessels today.
“We have managed to increase the number of gangs from four to five and are now receiving additional staff to help with shifts.”
Transnet added that the terminal was also practising strict physical distancing and sanitising protocols, with additional ablution facilities to ensure that there was no sharing of these between shifts.