South Africa

Transnet force majeure partially lifted

Transnet

South Africa’s state-owned port and rail operator partially ended a force majeure in place at its harbours after reaching an agreement with workers who went on strike over wages two weeks ago.

Transnet said in a statement the measure adopted for automotive, bulk, and multi-purpose terminals is “being uplifted with immediate effect” after a dispute with two labour unions was resolved.

The strike, started by the United National Transport Union on Oct 6 and joined by the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union four days later, has affected exports of iron ore, coal, chrome, and some agriculture products.

Because of backlogs at its container terminals and the impact this has on operations, the force majeure for these facilities remains and may be lifted by Oct 31, the ports operator said.

Transnet is “implementing recovery plans to stabilise operational performance and efficiencies across its terminals, following the industrial action by employees which ended earlier this week,” it said in the statement.

The Minerals Council South Africa, an industry lobby for bigger mining companies, has estimated the strike cost its members about R815 million ($45 million) a day. Fruit producers have also expressed concern that their harvests will rot at the docks.

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