In a recent customer advisory, MSC said that cargo from Durban and from Ngqura to Europe would be loaded as usual on ships of its South Africa-Europe service, but that the vessels would skip their normal Cape Town call to make up for lost time. Connections from Cape Town to Europe will be maintained by dedicated extra sailers on the route, starting immediately with a northbound departure of the 5,992 TEU ER Los Angeles, sailing to Rotterdam, London Gateway, Antwerp and Le Havre.

“Earlier on this year, at the start of the South African fruit export season (February – August), shippers, logistics companies and forwarders reported that the port faced a multitude of challenges that could potentially combine into a ‘cargo gridlock’,” Alphaliner noted in its most recent weekly report.

These include large-scale road construction works, cold storage space shortage, warehouse congestion, impending labour action, low berth productivity and unseasonably strong winds that hindered vessel operations. Other carriers including Maersk and ONE have also deployed extra loaders to and from South Africa to insure a reliable service in recent weeks.