ZA Update: Easing COVID restrictions increase air capacity
South Africa: More vessels avoid Durban port, whilst easing COVID measures benefit workforces and see more air freight routes added.
ZA COVID-19 Update
The adjustments in COVID-19 procedures, approved on 31st January, look to benefit workforces with future mass isolations hopefully being avoided as immunity rates soar. The adjusted level 1 alert now states that those who test positive but are symptomless will not have to isolate. Contacts will also forego the need for isolation unless symptoms develop. Furthermore, the isolation period for those positive with symptoms has been reduced from 10 to 7 days.
The new rules will help keep the country, and supply chains, moving as South Africa looks to recover from the pandemic. Meanwhile, many South African businesses are in the process of making vaccinations against the virus mandatory for their employees, although this is facing strong opposition with a legal challenge being launched in a bid to protect workers who do not want or cannot have the vaccine.
Durban Port Congestion a Cause for Concern
The situation at the Port of Durban has continued to deteriorate with congestion levels becoming increasingly poor, the resultant effects being that some carriers are now bypassing the harbour. Many shipping lines are taking measures to avoid Durban, as delays in both docking and offloading are causing major backlogs for ocean freight.
Violent Attacks Force Truckers to Take Action
The United Truck Drivers' Association (UTDA) staged a five day 'stay away' (January 31st - February 4th), a peaceful protest to encourage the South African government to intervene and provide support and protection for foreign drivers and workers after a sustained period working under the threat of violent attacks.
Costs of Petrol and Diesel on the Rise
South Africa has seen a sharp hike in the prices of both petrol and diesel fuels as the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy published the latest fuel price adjustments this month. The adjustments for inland fuel have seen diesel rise 4.8% from January's price, with the cost now sitting at R17.48 per litre whilst petrol has risen to 2.74% to R19.89 per litre (Fuel Pricing - AA). The extra cost of fuel has forced logistics businesses to implement additional fuel surcharges on top of transport rates to cover the fluctuation.
Etihad Return to ZA
Etihad Airways are set to resume flights between South Africa and the United Arab Emirates following the UAE's easing of restrictions on flights to 12 countries. The routing between Abu Dhabi and Johannesburg will begin on March 3rd following the previous termination of all Etihad flights to or from South Africa in October 2020. The service had initially been scheduled to resume in November 2021, however the further outbreak of the Omicron variant postponed these plans.
This announcement marks an increase in freight capacity between the two nations with cargo finding space on passenger planes. The 3 weekly return services between Johannesburg and Abu Dhabi will support and create opportunity for the supply chain and economy of both South African businesses and the companies shipping from/to South Africa.
Woodland's Dedicated South Africa Team
Our dedicated South Africa team are 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.