A trucking nightmare for KZN’s roads

2014-11-07 00:00

DURBAN’s logistics industry, accounting for half of the city’s employment, is expected to mushroom.

Within the next 25 years trucks accessing the port could grow from 10 300 per day to over 21 000 — and with the port already experiencing “regular congestion” on major arterials, the city is currently devising a strategy to keep the trucks moving.

An early draft seen by The Witness revealed the city wants to offer a “package” of solutions including weighbridges, truck stops, staging areas and “weigh-in-motion” stations erected along all major trucking routes.

The report said about 60% of eThekwini’s economy was “heavily reliant on freight transportation” and that freight and trucking accounted for 415 000 jobs — an estimated 50% of the city’s employed workforce.

eThekwini’s transport economist Paul Sessions said, while the strategic plan was still being developed, there was a need to look beyond just the need to “build roads”.

“We have done a full freight forecast on what could happen in the industry if nothing is done.

“We also have looked at how we leverage both the sea and airports. Most plans are on infrastructure, but we realise it is not good enough to simply build roads. We want to provide a whole range of services, for example, managing freight coming in on the highway. We want to provide real-time data so, for example, if there is a blockage at Bayhead, we need to be able to inform trucks outside the city and provide lay-by facilities for them,” said Sessions.

Sessions said demand on the port, road and railway services was “greater than existing capabilities” leading to ship delays, congestion and “excessive” freight transportation costs.

“In 2012, it took one truck a 48-hour turnaround time from entering to exiting the port. Unroadworthy and overloaded heavy vehicles pose a serious threat to road safety as do inexperienced, fatigued and unlicensed drivers, as well as limited oversight of hazardous chemicals.”

The bulk of all transport and logistics operate within a 20 kilometre radius of the port with national companies preferring the N3 to Howick, companies with provincial distribution footprints on the N2 and outsourced logistic operators remaining close to the port such as the South Durban basin area.

By 2035 the city could have, truck stops, staging areas and up to 10 mobile weighbridges operating along the N3/N2/R603 and MR579, but the city requires Transnet to upgrade its rail service too.

• jonathan.erasmus@


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