Power Failure Causes Seven Week Backlog of Ships at Richards Bay Coal Terminal

Richards Bay Coal Terminal
File image (c) Richards Bay Coal Terminal

At the end of January, a municipal power failure caused South Africa’s Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) to shut down while shipments of coal continued unhindered to the port.

8 days later and with 3.83 million tons of coal piled at their facility, power was restored.  28 bulk carriers however, were sitting patiently at anchor to load their cargoes.

RBCT estimates that with this backlog of ships and the terminal’s operating capacity of 91 million tons per year, it could take upwards of seven weeks to resume the normal vessel arrival pattern.

The terminal is currently running a three ship loader operation. “Once railings have been stabilized, we will revert back to a four ship loader operation. This is planned to take two to three days,” RBCT notes on their website.

Richards Bay is also the site of the wreck of the MV Smart, a bulk carrier which ran aground and split in half in August 2013.  Salvors from Titan and Subtech are currently busy on the salvage operation.