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Lesotho to host Textile Conference

Published date:
Wednesday, 12 May 2004

The advisory board set up in 2002 to deal with bottlenecks in the container supply chain has notched up some major successes, co-chairperson Captain Dave Rennie said on Tuesday.

When the board, drawn from government departments, parastatals and the private sector, was formed, the Durban terminal had been operating at an average 12 moves an hour, a figure which was now closer to 20.

This would "ramp up" even more with the installation of planned new cranes, he told a media briefing in Cape Town.

He warned however that government had to understand there was a need to plan capacity ahead of demand, and that there was a lot of catching up to do in terms of container facilities.

Rennie, who is also managing director of United Africa Container Lines, said he would like to see finality on the issue of concessioning, which had been on the table for a number of years.

At the end of the day, whether concessioning took place or not, what shipping lines and the broader industry required was efficient terminals.

Durban changes

His co-chairperson Mervyn Chetty said the changes introduced in Durban as a result of the board's intervention had included an incentive system, reconfiguration of IT systems, and sensitisation of staff.

Since 2002 the average truck turnaround time there had dropped from 40 to 50 minutes, to 20 to 25.

Crane productivity had increased, and by the end of next year the terminal would conform to international standards of one crane per 100m of quay.

He said in Cape Town, key harbour for the deciduous fruit industry, four new straddle carriers had been taken into service and another 26 were coming, while the number of plug points that provide power to containers would also be increased.

He said the board was one collaborative forum that had worked very well.

"Our approach is that we are working in the interests of SA (Pty) Ltd, not of one single party," he said.

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