Port of Richards Bay reopened to trucks after non-compliance certificate lifted
The Port of Richards Bay reopened to truck traffic at the weekend after a non-compliance certificate for undisclosed ‘environmental management issues’ was lifted. Meanwhile, three suspects have been arrested in relation to the recent spate of truck burnings.
Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) said on Saturday that it had lifted “a non-compliance stop certificate issued by the Ports Authority on 13 July 2023 to suspend operations of one of its terminal operators”.
“The terminal operator has since presented an implementation plan and committed to resolving the environmental management issues stipulated in the certificate. It has been noted that the terminal operator has already started implementing the remedial action.”
The “environmental management issues” remain undisclosed and TNPA had not responded to Daily Maverick queries about that by the time of publication.
Exports through the port include wood chips and copper concentrates. Fertiliser also moves through the port. Coal exports that go through the Richards Bay Coal Terminal were unaffected.
The statement said that transporters were urged on Saturday to wait 12 hours before dispatching trucks to the port to allow a backlog to be cleared.
Thus ends a saga that capped a terrible week for South Africa’s crucial trucking industry that saw 21 trucks attacked and burnt by arsonists in KZN, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
It has been widely reported that three suspects have been arrested and the army has been deployed as an additional security measure.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Richards Bay port grinds to halt over ‘environmental management issues’, coal exports unaffected
Meanwhile, Transnet confirmed at the weekend Daily Maverick’s reporting that a train derailment had occurred on the Maputo line at Waterval Onder in Mpumalanga.
“Transnet Freight Rail’s North-East Corridor confirms that urgent recovery efforts are under way to restore its operations on the Maputo line. This after a derailment of wagons on the single line at Waterval Onder in Mpumalanga on Sunday. No injuries were reported.
“All wagons have since been cleared and the line has been handed over to the Rail Network Unit for rail rehabilitation. The estimated time to repair and resume normal services is noon on Monday, 17 January 2023,” the state-run logistics company said.
Such incidents are concerning and while these appear to have been resolved, they are the tip of a growing iceberg of woes at Transnet that are costing the mining industry and other sectors tens of billions of rand a year in lost exports. Hopefully, the truck braais have also been nipped in the bud as Transnet’s mounting troubles mean that more and more goods have to be delivered on South Africa’s increasingly battered roads. DM