Following on from our story on how the Port of Durban is bringing together all stakeholders in daily ‘virtual’ meetings in an effort to keep everyone up to speed with daily operational plans and address port issues, FleetWatch is pleased to hear that the multi-disciplinary Port of Durban Decongestion Task Team is continuing to collaborate on efforts to alleviate truck traffic congestion at the port and its surrounding road networks.
For years, the truck congestion around the port has negatively impacted on communities in and around the port’s Bayhead Precinct and has caused huge frustration for truck operators and inconvenient delays to truck drivers.
Among the solutions mooted are synchronising the operating hours of back of port container depots with the port’s 24/7 operating hours and introducing an holistic truck booking system that could provide an integrated view of expected truck volumes in order for all parties to plan more effectively.
Moshe Motlohi, General Manager at the Port of Durban, who chairs the team of private and public sector entities, says: “We don’t only want Transnet Port Terminals and Transnet Freight Rail to be the ones sequencing the arrival of trucks at the port. We want to have a booking system that will give the port intelligence around how many trucks are expected in each hour so that we can proactively decide how to deploy our resources and give port users full visibility so that they can plan when and when not to send vehicles to the port. We feel this will add value, lower costs and have a positive environmental impact.”
A mandatory automated truck booking system has already been introduced at Durban Container Terminal Pier 1 and Pier 2, while the Grindrod, FPT and Bulk Terminal depots have also piloted their own booking systems. Transporters visiting these terminals are required to notify the terminal operators ahead of time if they intend to call at the port.
Motlohi says the task team has already engaged the depots and terminal operators and presented options to them. “Stakeholders around the Bayhead and Island View precinct have welcomed the view of having an integrated system to control the number of trucks entering and exiting the port,” he says.
The task team has also held engagements with users of the existing Transnet truck booking system around the initial challenges experienced. The stream as well as the container terminals have been exploring improvements based on feedback from the transport industry.
“We acknowledge that there is still work to be done on this front but have no doubt that all parties will be accommodated. Internally, Transnet Port Terminals has engaged its Pier 2 Container Terminal landside employees on the system and its use. As partners in this process, employees have also provided their feedback and input on how to improve the system to better serve the customer.”
He says the task team is also making strides in engaging depot operators about the possibilities of operating for 24/7.
“This intervention is to sync the depot operations with the terminal operations, to ensure alignment and that trucks are dispatched accordingly for cargo to be collected even during less popular hours such as weekends and after hours. That would reduce congestion in traditional peak periods.”
The Port of Durban Decongestion Task Team involves a broad range of private and public sector organisations involved in the port.
Through nine targeted work streams, the task team has adopted an integrated approach to tackle the root causes of Bayhead traffic related congestion and to ensure improved coordination, planning, operations, cargo flows and capacity.
In this video, Moshe Motlohi speaks about the proposed back of port solutions outlining a holistic booking system to decongest the port. All this is really good news to the trucking industry. We know that drivers will be thrilled if the horrible congestion can be solved.