Port of Durban slowly recovers after flood devastation

Durban Maersk

Operations at the Port of Durban have gradually restarted after the deadly floods in South Africa earlier this month.

“The port has gradually resumed operations to discharge and food, medical supplies and petrol have been prioritised,” said Sihle Zikalala, Premier of the KwaZulu-Natal province, on 24 April.

“Durban, which is the biggest city in the KwaZulu-Natal province, experienced the heaviest rains in six decades.”

The Port of Durban is the biggest container hub in Sub-Saharan Africa and handles 60 per cent of the country’s shipments, contributing as the second biggest source to South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Shipping line Maersk has announced its cooperation with Transnet Port Terminal (TPT) to restore Port of Durban’s terminal fluidity at Pier 1 and Pier 2, reportedly sitting at 60 per cent and 78 per cent occupancy respectively as of 19 April.

Maersk has further announced relief packages for its customers as they work to clear the backlog.

© Bloomberg via Twitter

Durban is estimated to lose around 1.8 per cent of annual GDP.

Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda of the eThekwini Municipality has reported more than R700 million ($44 million) in operational losses.

Premier Zikalala added that South Africa will need R1.9 billion ($121 million) to complete disaster relief work following the devastation on infrastructure.

The government will set up 4,000 temporary residential units by the end of the week, said Zikalala, with more permanent housing expected within six to eight months.

The floods have killed about 450 people and made thousands homeless, while 54 people remain missing.

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