South Africa - Power failure at Richards Bay

7 February 2014

As Members may already be aware from various press reports, a power failure has occurred in Richards Bay, apparently after electrical cables supplying power from uMhlatuze municipality failed last Friday 31 January. The power failure has stopped operations at Richards Bay Coal Terminal (“RBCT”), but it is expected that RBCT will be operational again by Sunday 9 February 2014. 

Given that the terminal has not been operational for one week already, the power failure is likely to have a significant impact not only on vessels already waiting to load coal but also those waiting at anchorage. The Correspondent in Durban, P&I Associates (Pty) Ltd, reports that there are over 25 ships waiting at anchorage with the number of vessels growing. Vessels en route to load coal at RBCT are likely to experience knock-on effects for some time. 

Accordingly, Members whose vessels are at or en route to load coal at RBCT, or are ordered to do so in the future under existing charterparty arrangements, should expect significant delays. In the meantime, Members considering fixing a voyage to load at RBCT may wish to give the above due consideration when negotiating contract terms.