Y2K-Related Delays Grip South African Port

Monday, December 06, 1999
Vessel and container handling delays spurred by fears over Y2K bug glitches are still hobbling operations at South Africa's Durban port, a senior shipping official said. "There are still some delays being experienced, but we're not yet in a crisis situation," Peter Masemola, operations manager at the Indian Ocean port, said. He said it is taking up to 14 hours for cargo vessels to turn around due to an increased influx of goods coming in and leaving through the port - Africa's busiest harbor. Normally it takes nine hours for vessels to be handled, he said. "From what's happening it seems people are getting their stocks in and out ahead of time. Some feel there might be problems with the suppliers, and others don't want to get into trouble with their customers," Masemola said. Durban, which normally handles up to 3,500 containers a day, was hit by similar delays in June when replacing its old container handling system with a Y2K bug-free version. At that time, handling delays ran up to 65 hours. Masemola said the current Y2K fears have nothing to do with the port's infrastructure. Portnet - the operator of South Africa's seven major ports - has spent more than $3.3 million on Y2K readiness at its ports.
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