Suspension of Richards Bay Mineral Terminal receiving due to truck congestion on public roads
Transnet, through RCB Terminals (Richards Bay), has circulated a notice that it will suspend the receiving of all cargo that is brought to the Port via road freight (truck).
Their motivation is that:
“The road congestion in Richards Bay has reached uncontrollable levels, such that the safety of road users within the city (Richards Bay and surrounds) has been at risk for months since the increase in truck traffic volumes.”
The first question to ask TRANSNET and, indeed, the President is – why has the “road congestion reached uncontrollable levels”?
Simply – the rail infrastructure has been allowed to decay and collapse. That lies squarely at the feet of TRANSNET, those given the accountability and responsibility to ensure TRANSNET is properly run and managed, and, ultimately, the President.
Now the answer is to curtail exports by road to the Port? That’s the best TRANSNET (and by inference those I charge of the state owned logistics infrastructure) can come up with? No wonder we are where we are…..
Further – to motivate this ludicrous decision, TRANSNET states:
“This happens at times where The Terminal operator is currently grappling with a Section 61 issued by the TNPA (Transnet Pors Authority), primarily because of traffic congestion and the Terminal's poor traffic management system that is negatively impacting all port users (own emphasis). TPT (Transnet Port Terminals) has implemented a truck booking system as a mechanism to create order, however, the solution does not include trucks destined to back-of-port facilities. Subsequently, even when trucks have been booked, the tempo at which the trucks arrive at port gates (TSA) at a particular time of day sometimes far exceeds the tempo in which trucks can be processed at the permit offices (own emphasis), as well as at the terminal stockpiles. This leads to a buildup of trucks outside the port gates on surrounding roads and on the N2”.
We know where the problem lies – (1) rail not doing what it should and (2) no efficient system to move cargo through the Port.
In addition to the challenges, the City of Umhlathuze has raised a number of concerns and challenges:
“It does not have a truck-staging area that can accommodate the volume of trucks, and further notes that the Port itself was not designed for this amount of trucks. This gives rise to a logistics nightmare in and around the Port”.
Two authorities have instituted legal action against TPT (and so they should) – HOWEVER the response from TPT is:
“…. the terminal operator is left with no choice but to immediately freeze all vessel nominations for vessels that bring in cargo via road transport.”
There is no other reaction to that then? This is completely crazy. Terminate our exports? Has TPT even considered the ramifications of this? Trucks will move to other Ports. Mines could close down. Revenue generation (for the country) will drop or even cease (in the affected sectors). Businesses that rely on road freight transport (in supporting the sector) will move or close. Shipping lines will go elsewhere. What job losses will there be?
TRANSNET adds the following comment in the circular:
“Alternatively, the Industry may propose a far more superior Traffic management solution that could create order in RCB and completely eliminate the staging of trucks on the N2, almost immediately. A solution that ensures the safety of road users and a solution that does not require the deployment of law enforcement personnel to manage trucks on the N2.”
What is the role that the National Logistics Crisis Committee (NLCC) has played in this? Are they even aware of this proposal to suspend all road exports?
The Road Freight Association (RFA) has a very clear proposal: Give the Ports and the railways to private sector. Let us run these efficiently and sustainably. The promises of concession (of port terminals) and access to rail have all evaporated. Empty promises!
Logistics is a private sector game. Decent and good competition is required to ensure we move goods (and even people) along the corridors of our country.
No, TRANSNET – the answer is not to close the Port because you cannot efficiently and sustainably do the work required. You are killing the country!
By Gavin Kelly – CEO: The Road Freight Association
Gavin Kelly, The Road Freight Association’s Chief Executive Officer
Name: CVLC Communication
Contact: Catherine Larkin APR CMILT
Cell phone: 083 300 0331
Contact: Catherine Larkin
About The Road Freight Association
The Road Freight Association was established in 1975 to support its Members who are, in the main, road freight operators. It is a lobbying and negotiating body which influences the state of the industry, rates, upkeep of the road infrastructure, road safety, freight security, driver interests, cross-border transport, education, health, the fuel price, law enforcement, labour relations and many other issues related to road freight transport.
Member companies include small and medium-sized trucking companies, including many family-owned businesses, owner operators, as well as most of the largest trucking companies in South Africa. Members come from all sectors of the trucking industry.
Private and public operators are Members of the RFA. Membership also includes a significant number of affiliates and associates – those companies providing goods and services to the trucking industry.
Team RFA (made up of support staff and experts) is committed to serving you. The team brings with it a high degree of professional experience, knowledge and dedication – which greatly contributes to the effectiveness, relevance and standing of the RFA.
As the voice of the trucking industry in South Africa, the RFA is your voice. It is important that you avail yourself of that opportunity to be heard.