Transnet said on Friday it anticipates that it will take close to two weeks to clear the backlog at the Ngqura Container Terminal in Port Elizabeth, which has been hit by unprotected industrial action.
Workers embarked on the protest more than two weeks ago to show their anger over payment of a short-term incentive and other related matters such as equipment failure and transport.
The “go-slow” unprotected strike led to delays in the dropping off and collection of goods, hurting the automotive, citrus, meat, textiles and electronic sectors. To date, 13 employees have been suspended for misconduct that took place during the strike.
The state-owned freight and rail company said productivity was returning to normal following a court interdict against the strike. Operations have apparently improved at the Durban Container Terminal and Port of Cape Town.
“The illegal industrial action has had a negative impact on customers, in particular the agricultural and automotive industries. To this end, Transnet is engaging continuously with customers to address backlogs,” it said in a statement.
“Similarly, vessel owners and operators servicing the container industry have also been impacted and Transnet continues to engage with them to prioritise cargo.”
Transnet said its acting group chief executive, Mohammed Mahomedy, was conducting sessions at Ngqura, Cape Town and Durban, addressing and highlighting the need to improve operational performance.
The company said it has set up national and regional command centres to monitor ports operations and improve operational efficiencies, but performance challenges continue to persist in certain critical areas.
– African News Agency (ANA)