SOUTH AFRICA – The Cape Town Multi-Purpose Terminal (MPT) is witnessing a surge in volume within the agricultural bulk sector, marking a substantial increase of 43% for the current year.

An official statement from the MPT revealed that in January alone, the terminal managed to handle an impressive 25,704 tons of agricultural bulk commodities, reflecting a staggering 72% increase compared to the corresponding period last year.

Oscar Borchards, Acting Managing Executive of Western Cape Terminals, expressed satisfaction with this remarkable performance, stating, “The agri-bulk sector, which forms part of our breakbulk offering, has done really well this current financial year.”

Notably, in February, the MPT’s container sector achieved a notable increase with a total of 6,540 moves, compared to 5,555 moves recorded in the same month the previous year.

While celebrating the success, Borchards emphasized the importance of continual improvement, remarking, “While our container sector business performance is slightly above target, we are gradually seeing a good shift, and ours is to keep identifying opportunities for improvement.”

He attributed this achievement to the dedicated efforts of their employees, emphasizing their commitment to a customer-centric approach. “For us, serving customers is a business imperative, and having our employees rallying behind this is crucial,” Borchards added.

In a strategic move to bolster capacity and enhance service, the MPT introduced a two-berth operation for containers in November 2023.

This initiative aims to augment volume throughput and supplement the operations of the Cape Town Container Terminal, thus providing a complementary system to meet growing demands effectively.

Notable surge in bunkering calls at the port

Amid escalating concerns over attacks by Houthi rebels and increased vessel diversions from the Red Sea, the Port of Cape Town is experiencing a notable surge in bunkering calls.

The Cape’s Port Liaison Forum (PLF) confirmed an upsurge in maritime traffic around the Cape, leading to a corresponding increase in bunker callers.

While precise figures remain undisclosed, the PLF spokesperson expressed optimism regarding the port’s capacity to accommodate and sustain this surge. “While the precise number of callers remains undefined, the outlook appears promising. We also maintain confidence in our capacity and capability to accommodate this surge and sustain it in the future,” the spokesperson stated.

It is believed that Astron, the sole local refinery catering to the marine industry, has ramped up its supply to meet the heightened demand for bunkers.

Cape Town has reportedly been receiving up to 15 inquiries per day from bunker callers, a significant increase from their usual volume.

Although the PLF could not confirm whether this surge translated into actual sales, the development is viewed as highly positive for the Cape Town port and the broader logistics industry.

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