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Impacts Of Covid-19 On Ports & Harbours 

When the Covid-19 pandemic first broke out in the port city of Wuhan, China, in December 2019 few could have predicted the massive impact it would have on the world. With global lockdowns affecting almost every industry on earth, the global freight and shipping industry has been one of the hardest hit.

Impacts Of The Covid-19 Pandemic On Ports & Harbours  

As the world economy slowed, global shipping markets took a big knock, with a much lower demand for goods in China affecting everything from container ships to oil tankers.

The impact has been felt beyond just ports and harbours, with the trucking industry, logistics and shipping businesses all experiencing a drop in demand.

Container ships around the world have been sitting empty at container terminals, waiting to resume their normal routes and cargo loads. Harbour cranes have had a massive decline in work, waiting for shipping loads to return to normal.

The world has not seen a reduction in shipping like this since the 2008 global financial crisis.

The South African landscape

South Africa’s initial lockdown in March and April 2020 came with a number of restrictions that impacted South African shipping and ports. Cruise ships were banned from docking and crew changes were also barred. The eight South African seaports all remained open, but goods coming in from high-risk countries had to be sanitized before leaving the port. Terminal operations were therefore scaled down dramatically with non-essential cargo being restricted heavily. It is estimated that ports were running at approximately 50% to 60% capacity during this time.

Due to restrictions placed on business operations at ports, some harbours experienced backlogs. Cape Town port, for example, struggled with a backlog of ships, leading to vessels waiting outside of port for weeks at a time before getting an opportunity to berth. Once berthed, there was a shortage of cranes and crane operators working at the port and significant delays were experienced. This led to shipping lines either cancelling trips to Cape Town or charging a congestion surcharge.

Post the lockdown ending, more goods started flowing in and out of the country, but demand for both imports and exports has decreased significantly. Warehouses and distribution centres have seen a fall in demand for consumer products. The wine industry suffered job losses as a result of a ban on wine exports over the lockdown period. There has been absolute turmoil across all industries.

The longer-term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is yet to be experienced, but this sector has undoubtedly struggled and we know this because we’ve felt the chain reaction from it.

 What Is A Harbour Mobile Crane?

Mobile harbour cranes are versatile cranes used in ports for the handling of cargo and containers. They are useful for loading, lifting and moving bulk materials on and off of ships. Mobile cranes are perfect for working at ports and harbours – they can be easily transported and set up as and when you need them, and wherever you may need them positioned. The mobile cranes are available in a range of different sizes, offering varying lift capacities. Smaller mobile cranes will assist in jobs like handling small barges and the larger, heavier lift cranes are perfect for loading and offloading bulk carriers.

When Will Ports And Harbours Be Fully Operational?

Currently, under Level 1 restrictions, ports and harbours are operating normally. Under current legislation, rail, ocean, air and road transport is permitted for the movement of cargo to and from other countries. All commercial seaports are open.

Concord Cranes has had extensive experience across this particular industry – both during a lockdown and outside of a lockdown. Our team understand the intricacies of working in these environments.

Contact Concord Cranes to find out more about our mobile cranes for use in ports and harbours. Equipped with a fleet of +180 cranes, ranging from 7T –  800T, we are well placed to service a multitude of industries, and in particular the port, & harbour and maritime industries.

Please ask our team for further information – get in touch

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