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Port fails to meet targets ahead of citrus season
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Port fails to meet targets ahead of citrus season

Western Cape Government calls for more private sector involvement

SOUTH AFRICA: With citrus exports set to increase towards the end of the month, the Western Cape Government (WCG) has raised the alarm on the Cape Town Container Terminal’s (CTCT) failure to meet its own recovery targets that were put in place to stabilise operations in the short term.

The productivity measure of average container moves per vessel per hour is sitting on an average of 25 moves per hour compared to a target of 30 moves when measured over the first four months of the year.

Provincial MEC of Finance and Economic Opportunities, Mireille Wenger, expressed deep concern, saying that “the targets set in the Transnet and container terminal recovery plan for the Port of Cape Town, designed to be conservative and achievable, are not even being achieved. I am especially concerned that, with the citrus season fast approaching, we are heading towards another export crisis. Citrus yields are up, but all indicators show that performance at the port will not be able to handle the increased volumes this year.”

The average vessel turnaround achieved in April was 8.9 days against a target of four days, while the average time at berth during the same month sits at 4.3 days against a target of three days. The average waiting time for a berth is also significantly higher than the one day target and was recorded to be 4.6 days during April.

“Fundamentally, these indicators show that the current terminal performance will not be sufficient to accommodate cargo volumes during the upcoming peak citrus season. It is therefore imperative that there be an urgent review of the targets in the improvement plan so that they are functional, credible, reliable, and achievable – and so that our exporters can trust in the commitments made to enable making alternative arrangements well in advance, if needed, to mitigate the negative impacts this crisis would have on their businesses,” continued MEC Wenger.

She added that a WCG technical team was available to assist in identifying key areas of underperformance and to take action steps towards improved and efficient operations.

“It is high time that the private sector is brought in to boost the efficiency of operations at the Port of Cape Town so we can work together to achieve the kind of breakout economic growth we need to create thousands of new jobs in the province, and in South Africa,” concluded Wenger.

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