Outcry as Transnet mulls blocking trucksTransnet is considering blocking trucks from delivering cargo to the port of Richards Bay, due to what it described as a worsening "logistics nightmare".
Richards Bay Terminals confirmed on Friday that it "may suspend the processing of trucks bringing cargo into its terminals via road" in the interest of public safety.
Gavin Kelly, CEO of the Road Freight Association, said blocking trucks would be "astounding" and "completely crazy".
"Has Transnet Port Terminals even considered the ramifications of this? Trucks will move to other ports. Mines could close down."
The move follows the threat of legal action against the port by the City of Richards Bay, which says law enforcement cannot cope with the truck traffic and has been wracking up hefty overtime bills.
For months, roads leading to the port have been jammed by thousands of trucks, many carrying coal for the export terminal there. The congestion has heightened tensions with the local community. In February, for example, armed community groups tried to clear trucks from the road.
The situation has been exacerbated by poor rail performance on Transnet Freight Rail's coal corridor, forcing coal exporters to move product by road.
If a decision is taken to block trucks, it will not impact Richards Bay Coal Terminal, which only uses rail.
In a circular, Transnet said that road congestion had now reached "uncontrollable levels". The circular was sent out a day after Richard Bay said it would take legal action against the port.
"The safety of road users within the city has been at risk for months since the increase in truck traffic volumes," said Transnet.
The truck booking system it had implemented to "create order" had not worked as planned.
"Even when trucks have been booked, the tempo at which the trucks arrive at port gates at a particular time of day sometimes far exceeds the tempo in which trucks can be processed at the permit offices, as well as at the terminal stockpiles," it said. –Fin24