Torrential rainfall (April 12) exceeded the expectations of the South African meteorological community at large, according to an update from the South African Weather Service.

"Overnight rainfall reports from KwaZulu-Natal have underscored the particularly heavy and extreme nature of the rainfall with some 24-hour falls exceeding 200 mm. More noteworthy, is that a few stations even reported 300 mm or more!"

The heavy rains in six decades that hit South Africa's coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal has hit the operations at Durban port.

Maersk, in two advisories issued yesterday, said all operations have been suspended. "Terminal operations remain on standby with gang availability compromised given restricted access. There is still no access into the terminal, and there is evidence of significant damage to Bay Head road – no trucks can enter or exit the terminal. Depot operations remain suspended, and transporters continue to ground their fleets in response."

Maersk has announced the following relief package for customers: Detention for both import and export will be stopped for 1 week (April 11–19), and demurrage depot storage for import will be stopped for 1 week (April 11–19).

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Heavy rains have damaged the road infrastructure leading into the Port of Durban, affecting access into the terminals, Transnet, the largest freight logistics chain in South Africa, said in its update issued recently.

"Shipping has been suspended until further notice as a result of environmental damage caused by the adverse weather, and vessels on berth are on standby. A multi-disciplinary command centre, comprising the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), operators and customers has been set up and is monitoring activities. Customers have been requested to hold back on bringing trucks into the port, to avoid congestion."

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