South Durban residents’ campaign to tackle truck congestion

By Nonhlanhla Nozizwe Hlatshwayo Time of article published58m ago

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Durban: The South Durban Truck Coalition is calling on residents to join its movement as it attempts to take up the problem of truck congestion in the area with the Metro Police.

Residents of Clairwood, Bluff, Merebank, Glenwood, Umbilo, Seaview, Isipingo and Wentworth have formed an organisation in a bid to deal with issues that they claim are caused by truck congestion.

Shanice Firmin of the association said: “Communities are bearing the brunt of traffic jams, accidents, toxic emissions, illicit parking and damaged infrastructure. With mushrooming container depots, small-scale businesses are being destroyed. Livelihoods, homes and children and people’s safety are threatened.”

Firmin said residents who want to report incidents can join their WhatsApp group.

“Affected residents are encouraged to lodge formal complaints with the Metro Police call centre for trucking violations; they must however take down the reference number of the lodged complaint and record this information and incident details of the complaint on the Community Trucking complaint Google form, where we will do the the follow-up with Metro Police.

“When residents fill out the Google form, the data is immediately captured on graphs and stats are reflected on a spreadsheet. We will then use these stats and present them to Metro Police and law-enforcement to advocate for well monitored and controlled systems to protect the rights of all those directly or indirectly affected by trucking and port logistics,” she said.

Firmin said the trucking problem had been going on for decades, but had since worsened leading to trucks spilling over into residential spaces.

“We have been advocating for the Cato Ridge Dry Port since the early 2000s and our support for investment in sustainable rail and multimodal hubs. We’ve engaged the city and Transnet on various platforms such as the first Ports Symposium hosted by Urban Futures Centre in 2016,” she said.

Gavin Kelly of the Road Freight Association said there were various reasons why there were queues of trucks in the immediate vicinity of the port and that it was out of the hands of the drivers and operators.

“There are only so many routes into and out of the port, many routes have been upgraded to include a truck lane only. The reality is that the port is not operating as efficiently as it should be in terms of loading and offloading trucks and ships and thus the queues start to grow,” said Kelly.

Kelly said they had done various on-site inspections, “but the reality lies with port operations becoming far more efficient”.

“There are hubs around the greater area, but the trucks need to enter and leave the harbour and the control of that is not what it needs to be,” said Kelly.

EThekwini Metro police communication officer Supt Zamaswazi Dlamini said they were aware of the issue and had been receiving complaints about the area.

“Metro is dealing with the problem, and it will not be solved overnight. However, we do our best to make sure that the traffic is controlled whenever a complaint comes in,” said Dlamini.

In response to the comments made by the RFA, Sibongile Matsena, regional corporate affairs manager; KZN Containers for Transnet Port Terminals said Durban Container Terminal had seen some delays in the servicing of trucks.

“Volumes have picked up particularly because we are in citrus exporting peak season. Most booking slots are consumed by exports reefers cargo.

“Equipment challenges (straddle carrier running breakdowns & outages) have been experienced particularly from the old generation fleet.”

Matsena said a batch of the first new 10 straddle carriers was being commissioned this week into operations up to early next week.

“The last batch of 12 new straddles will be offloaded from a vessel on Monday which will be introduced into operations at the beginning of July. This will assist in improving our equipment availability and reliability going forward.”

The Mercury

Credit IOL