South Africa’s ports and freight-rail operator Transnet has partially lifted a force majeure at its ports after labor unions called off industrial action that paralysed commodities exports and resulted in millions in losses.
Transnet Port Terminals (TPT), an operating division of Transnet said the force majeure, which was declared on October 6, has been uplifted with immediate effect in the automotive, bulk and multi-purpose terminals.
However, the force majeure declared for the container terminals will remain in place at least by October 31, “due to the extent of the backlogs and the resultant impact on operations.”
“TPT’s full workforce reported for duty with effect from October 20, 2022, and the backlogs in the container terminals are being cleared as part of the recovery plans underway,” Transnet said in a statement.
The strike, started by the United National Transport Union (UNTU) on October 6 and joined by the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) four days later, has affected exports of iron ore, coal, chrome and some agriculture products.
South African miners lobby group Minerals Council South Africa, whose members account for more than 80% of Transnet’s rail business, estimating losses of 815m rands ($45m) a day.
The state-owned operator signed a three-year wage agreement with majority union UNTU on October 17. Transnet’s second-largest labor union, SATAWU, called off its strike action on October 19, 2022.