South African port authority seeks to revoke decision to reopen Durban port for metal exports

The South African port authority is looking to reserve Durban port for the shipment of essential goods only, revoking a separate statement by the country’s maritime authority to allow processing of metals cargoes during the 21-day lockdown, Fastmarkets has learned.

The Transnet National Ports Authority, TNPA, insisted on April 1 that the current arrangements for usage of the busiest port in sub-Saharan Africa remained unchanged, according to information seen by Fastmarkets.

Metal exports of copper, cobalt and other metal products have been banned from the port since March 23.

No official statement has been published by TNPA yet.

The response came after the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) filed a marine notice on March 31 saying all cargoes can be loaded and offloaded at all ports of the country.

The conflicting statements over usage of Durban port have garnered widespread attention because the blocked port access has led to multiple month-long delivery delays to Asia. Copper products from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia – the two biggest copper-producing countries in Africa – have been diverted to Beira Port in Mozambique, Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Walvis Bay port in Namibia due to the lockdown.

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