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South African port strikes cause container terminals to declare 'Force Majeure'

Two weeks of port strikes end, however, container backlogs cause severe congestion for ZA ports

Update 20th October 2022

The SATAWU union today joined the UNTU union in agreeing a deal with Transnet over pay rises for South African port workers, with operations resuming immediately following the deal being brokered. Although the parties agreeing a deal is positive, the strikes have caused severe congestion and have seen blanked sailings as a result of the backlogs caused by the strike action.

Update 18th October 2022

A deal has been agreed between the state-owned port operator Transnet and the United Transport and Allied Trade Union, the majority union taking strike action. However, with the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union not obliged to follow suit and vowing to continue the strike, it is unclear whether work will resume immediately.

Original update 10th October 2022

Following our most recent South Africa update, please see the latest news affecting ZA supply chains below.

The UNTU (United National Transport Union) and SATAWU (SA Transport and Allied Workers Union) unions are continuing ongoing negotiations with TransNet, the port operator in South Africa, over wage disputes which have been taking place since July of this year which saw the two trade unions walk out on Thursday, with the Allied Workers Union joining the action from Monday, 10th October.

The two sides were set to meet at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration on 10th October with the aim of finding a resolution to the current impasse and avoiding further strike action which could potentially damage South Africa's supply chain growth.

The declaration of a 'Force Majeure' effectively excuses TransNets' performance during the period in which the industrial action is taken and whilst operations have been scaled down, the operator is looking into contingency plans including external resources to ensure smooth running of the port and rail terminals.

With 5 vessels currently awaiting berth outside of Cape Town's container terminals, and another 10 expected over the coming week, the avoidance of further action is imperative in keeping South Africa's supply chain moving.

Woodland's Dedicated South Africa Team

Our dedicated South Africa team is on hand to support you and keep your supply chain moving. If you would like more information regarding South Africa supply chains, contact the team here or complete the contact form below

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