Extreme Weather Threatens Shipping Operations

Lightening coming from clouds during a storm.

A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S has issued a warning about potential shipping delays due to severe weather conditions along the South African coast. The situation is expected to impact vessel movement and operations, particularly between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.

A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S has raised concerns about extreme weather conditions and a storm surge along the South African coast, which are anticipated to cause shipping delays. The South African Weather Service has forecasted damaging coastal winds, rains, and waves due to an intense cold front, which could also pose navigational challenges in some offshore areas.

The shipping route has seen an increase in traffic as vessels seek to avoid attacks in the Red Sea. The disruption has been most significantly felt in container shipping, with approximately 690 vessels currently navigating around the Cape of Good Hope.

Implications for South African Ports

The weather conditions are expected to impact vessel movement and operations along the South African coastline over the next few days, particularly between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. Maersk anticipates that vessels will need to seek shelter or alter their course to avoid the affected areas, leading to potential delays.

The situation presents additional challenges for South Africa’s state-owned logistics company, Transnet SOC Ltd., which is already grappling with improving the performance of its ports. The company is seeking private investment and replacing equipment to better handle extreme weather conditions. Despite these efforts, the harbors continue to rank among the worst globally, a claim disputed by Transnet.

The South African Weather Service has predicted conditions including waves of up to 10 meters in the southwest, along with strong north-westerly to westerly winds and heavy rainfall through Monday.