A ship enters Durban harbour, managed by Transnet. Picture: Marianne Schwankhart
A ship enters Durban harbour, managed by Transnet. Picture: Marianne Schwankhart

SA’s bulk export volumes rose 4.3% year on year in February to 15.5-million tonnes, from a revised 54.6% (88.8%) surge in January 2018 to a record 20.8-million tonnes (25.4-million tonnes), data from the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) showed on Monday.

TNPA said there was an error in the formula calculation for iron ore in January, which had been corrected in February. Bulk exports excluding Saldanha were up 25.6% in the first two months of this year, to 21-million tonnes.

In January bulk exports out of Richards Bay, which are mostly coal, jumped 28.6% to 9-million tonnes, while bulk exports out of Saldanha, which are mostly iron ore, lifted a massive 90.6% to a revised 10.2-million tonnes (14.8-million tonnes).

This may in part be due to the shift in the Lunar New Year from January in 2017 to February in 2018, because Chinese steel producers front-loaded their February iron ore and coal imports into January, as steel-production curbs — which were imposed during the winter months to ease pollution — were lifted in February.

In February, bulk exports out of Saldanha fell 17.7% to 5.2-million tonnes due to the above seasonal effect, while bulk exports out of Richards Bay grew 19.1% to 8.9-million tonnes.

Bulk exports out of the other ports such as Durban and Port Elizabeth rose 45.2% in January to 1.6-million tonnes and were up 30.7% to 1.5-million tonnes.

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