South African terminal operator Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has declared Force Majeure at its terminal facilities in Richards Bay following the strong storm that hit the region on Tuesday, October 10.
TNT said that the decision was made due to the damage caused by extreme weather conditions which have impacted terminal operations.
“These unforeseen incidents are beyond the control of TPT and TPT has no option but to invoke the provisions of the force majeure clauses in TPT’s commercial agreements and Standard Trading Terms and Conditions,” the terminal operator said.
“Any claims arising herefrom will, therefore, be dealt with as such in terms of the applicable contractual agreements and Standard Trading Terms and Conditions.”
The Richards Bay terminal, handling bulk and break bulk cargo, is situated in KwaZulu-Natal, a coastal South African province, which has been declared a disaster area by Premier Willies Mchunu after the storm that devasted parts of the province.
The “mega storm” has caused severe damages to local roads, bridges, and utility infrastructure, according to local media.
The heavy weather has seen winds reach the strength of up to 50 knots South Westerly at peak in places, and heavy rain causing flash floods.
The Port of Durban was forced to shut down operations to marine traffic as several vessels got grounded, including one containership that drifted into the mouth of the port, blocking its entrance.
Based on the latest update from Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), progress has been made in clearing obstructions from the seabed of the port, bringing safety of navigation of vessels to 95%.
Previous reports indicated that there were about three containers believed to have been lost into the water with the exact position unknown, posing a danger to navigation within the vicinity.
“The latest results of the sounding surveys that were conducted indicate that there is no obstruction on the seabed that could pose risk to navigation along the Durban Container Terminal: Pier 1. However, sounding surveys are still in progress along the C-Shed area and in the interest of ensuring safe navigation of vessels, vessel movement is still suspended in this area,” the port authority said.
Recovery operations and supporting terminal operators to restore normality are still underway.