Maersk Warns of Shipping Delays Due to Extreme Weather

Storm Surges Lash South African Coast
Maersk containership
The Maersk Sentosa containership. (Stringer/Bloomberg News)

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A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S warned extreme weather conditions and a storm surge lashing the South African coast are expected to cause shipping delays.

An intense cold front bringing snow to some areas of the country is resulting in damaging coastal winds, rains and waves that threaten infrastructure, the South African Weather Service said. High-speed winds could also pose difficulty to navigation in some offshore areas.

Maersk ranks No. 5 on the Transport Topics list of the largest global freight companies, and No. 28 on the TT Top 100 list of the largest logistics companies in North America.

There has been an increase in vessels using the route as ships avoid attacks in the Red Sea. The impact of the disruption has been most acutely felt in container shipping, with about 690 vessels currently sailing around the Cape of Good Hope.

The conditions “will impact vessel movement and operations” along the South African coastline, over the next few days, especially between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, where the worst impact may occur, Maersk said in a statement on July 8. “Vessels are expected to seek shelter/alter their course to avoid the impacted areas, please expect delays over the next few days.”

South Africa’s state-owned logistics company Transnet SOC Ltd. is already struggling with turning around the performance of its ports, seeking private investment and replacing equipment that’s more capable of operating in extreme weather. The harbors rank among the worst globally, according to a World Bank study whose methodology Transnet disputes.

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