Container volumes handled by Transnet Port Terminals slipped by 4.5% to 4.37m teu in the year ending on March 31, 2016.
The decline occurred due to falls in transhipment, vehicle and transport equipment imports and exports of electronics, base metal and chemical products, caused by low demand both locally and internationally.
According to a company statement, lower transshipment volumes were the result of shipping lines streamlining their routes and minimising port calls to save costs.
Across Transnet’s port segments, revenue increased by 5.1% to R10.2 billion although growth its automotive and bulk businesses outperformed its container terminals.
Nevertheless, several Transnet terminals improved their productivity during the year, highlighted by improved ship turnaround times.
The Ngqura Container Terminal showed the most significant progress, with average moves per ship working hour (SWH) advancing from 48 to 66 moves.
Durban Container Terminal’s Pier 1 improved from 48 to 53 moves, Pier 2 recorded an increase from 58 to 63 moves, while Cape Town Container Terminal improved from 49 to 53 moves.
However, average ship turnaround times at East London rose by 47% from 50 to 74 hours.
For the overall company, revenue increased by 1.7% to R62.2bn (US$4.1bn) for the year, driven by a 4.2% increase in rail containers and automotive volumes as a result of concerted efforts to shift rail-friendly cargo from road to rail.