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S. Africa Transnet Strike Disrupts Port Operations

Transnet workers hold up a paper with employee demands amid nationwide strikes in Cape Town, South Africa, October 11, 2022.

Officials of South Africa’s state-owned logistics firm Transnet Tuesday said an ongoing workers strike that started last week over wages is impacting container and car terminals in Durban, one of the busiest ports in Africa.

Transnet officials said the ongoing workers strike has impacted waterside and landside operations at its Durban port, which handles 65% of South Africa’s container volume and is one of the busiest ports in Africa.

“Please be advised that operations at Pier 1, Pier 2 and Durban RoRo terminal have been impacted as a result of industrial action,” read a statement released by Transnet.

The Transnet statement further advised that appointment slots have been suspended and added, “please do not dispatch trucks to the terminals until further notice.”

Transnet officials also say the workers strike could potentially disrupt fruit exports from the Cape Town port, but said it is working closely with several stakeholders to ensure that perishable products, along with other cargo with a limited shelf life, are prioritized at ports.

Transnet workers walk past ship containers in Cape Town amid nationwide strikes, October 11, 2022
Transnet workers walk past ship containers in Cape Town amid nationwide strikes, October 11, 2022

Officials of the state-owned logistics firm say they will be meeting union leaders on Wednesday to continue wage negotiations.

Experts say the Transnet strike is likely to worsen South Africa’s mining industry.

Ahead of the Transnet strike, South Africa’s Minerals Council projected a revenue loss of 50 billion rand ($2.76 billion) in 2022 compared to 35 billion rand in 2021, a drop experts say will be throttled by limited exports amid the Transnet strike.

South African Mining firms Thungela Resources, Kumba Iron Ore and Jupiter Mines echo the sentiments passed by the Minerals Council and further warned that the strike is likely to impact coal, iron ore, manganese production and exports.