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An investigation into the operational challenges at the Durban Container Terminal.

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ABSTRACT This study focused on the operational Challenges experienced by the Durban Container Terminal (DCT). It unpacked factors such as the design and layout of the yard, relationship of management with labour, strength of first line management, Operator Productivity, Terminal Planning, Terminal Incentive schemes and Terminal Equipment maintenance. The primary purpose of this study was to establish the nature of the challenges faced by the Durban Container Terminal, establish the factors hindering effective operations at the Durban Container Terminal, and asses the relationship between Operational factors and efficiency at the Durban Container Terminal. A Questionnaire was the major instrument used to obtain primary data from the respondents; while the secondary data were obtained through the perusal of documents such as company policies and standard operating procedures relevant to the study. The target population of the study was approximately 2000 people. The questionnaire that was designed used a Likert scale. A sample of 103 respondents was obtained through a stratified sampling technique of which 59 of the respondents participated in the survey. Data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and Microsoft Excel 2013. The study found that the design of the yard is a challenge at DCT. It also found that equipment breakdowns are a hindrance for operations. The study also found that underutilisation of ship to shore crane capability is a setback for DCT. The study recommends an improved incentive Scheme that can have a positive spin off on Operation’ efficiency; it also indicated that the Introduction of new Equipment Straddle carriers in particular can improve Operation’s efficiency. The study further highlighted that Operation Supervisors have insufficient authority delegated to them to make decisions that can immediately influence Operation’s efficiency. They further recommended for the empowerment of first line supervision to be able to make first line manager decisions, Management to look at ways to reach out to employees and to ensure that engagement platforms meant to improve and engage labour are effective and have positive influences on relations and Terminal Performance. There is however scope for further research as the study focused on Pier 2 and not Pier 1, which a sizeable section of Durban container terminal.


Master’s Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.