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Transnet’s Aged Equipment Creates Backlog With 70k Goods Containers Stuck

South Africa’s rail, port and pipeline company Transnet has taken responsibility for not maintaining its equipment at some ports – compromising their lifespan.

This has contributed to the massive backlog at ports – with thousands of containers stuck ahead of the festive season where demand for goods spikes.

While Transnet has attributed the delays to broken equipment at its terminals, it has also cited bad weather as a contributing factor.

The Durban port has 70,000 stuck goods containers and there is a 21-day waiting period before offloading can take place.

The hamstrung state-owned enterprise said it’s working to clear the backlog, adding that it could take months to conclude.

Transnet’s acting CEO Michelle Phillips said they’re engaging government to address the issue.

“We’ve been engaging with the National Treasury for some time now. You cannot have normal business processes apply in a situation where, strictly speaking, you are at war. Rome is burning and you need to get out of that situation as a matter of urgency.”

The government has played a significant role in assisting Transnet’s looming crisis, she added.

“The National Treasury has withdrawn a number of instruction notes that constrained us in the past when it comes to procurement process.”

Phillips said this would help to speed up the process of acquiring the necessary equipment at the ports to successfully clear the backlog.