Shipping company Maersk says while the impact of the current unrest shut down the entire supply chain at the Durban and Richards Bay ports, its landslide logistics have been hit the hardest.
Days of civil unrest, which have so far been concentrated in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, have seen some road freight operators suspend services, with parts of the N3 highway linking the provinces closed to traffic between Cedara, outside Pietermaritzburg, and Harrismith.
Maersk South African confirmed that the Durban facility, with the exception of Pier 1 and 2 which are semi-operational, remains shut due to lack of labour. All trucking activity has stopped and depots are closed.
"It is the landside logistics that has had the biggest impact as a result of the unrest; however, our execution teams are already mobilising to ensure we can deliver cargo to customers as soon as it is safe to do so," said spokesperson Kerry Rosser.
Despite the challenges, the company said it had not triggered any contingencies that would impact its vessel schedules in South Africa, as many of the services that call at Durban can still also call at other ports around the country.
However, Transnet said the disruptions had forced it to call a force majeure on its Natcor railway line that connects Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, due to the deadly social unrest. The line plays a critical role in the transportation of goods including consumables and mining raw material.
The state-owned logistics firm said it had deployed its own resources "to avert commercial operations being affected by an escalation of force majeure notices across the essential supply value chain".