South Africa – COVID-19 Lockdown Situation Update – 25.04.2020

COVID-19 South AfricaSouth Africa has been on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic since the 27th of March 2020 and as of date, South Africa has 4220 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 79 deaths..

Below is the gist of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on the 23rd of April 2020 and details relevant to the risk-adjusted strategy for the resumption of economic activity in the country..

  • SA must avoid a rushed re-opening that could risk a spread, which would need to be followed by another hard lockdown, as has happened in other countries ;
  • SA has to balance the need to resume economic activity with the imperative to contain the virus and save lives ;
  • To achieve this, SA has developed a Risk-adjusted strategy for economic activity with an alert system with levels of restriction that determines the measures that should be in place based on the direction of the pandemic in the country ;
  • As part of this approach, SA will have five coronavirus levels:
    • Level 5 means that drastic measures are required to contain the spread of the virus to save lives ;
    • Level 4 means that some activity can be allowed to resume subject to extreme precautions required to limit community transmission and outbreaks ;
    • Level 3 involves the easing of some restrictions, including on work and social activities, to address a high risk of transmission ;
    • Level 2 involves the further easing of restrictions, but the maintenance of physical distancing and restrictions on some leisure and social activities to prevent a resurgence of the virus ;
    • Level 1 means that most normal activity can resume, with precautions and health guidelines followed at all times ;
  • There will be a national level and separate levels for each province, district and metro in the country ;
  • SA is currently at Level 5, which is the highest level requiring a full national lockdown to contain the spread of the virus

The National Coronavirus Command Council has determined that the national coronavirus alert level will be lowered from level 5 to level 4 with effect from Friday the 1st of May..

This means that some business activity will be allowed to resume subject to extreme precautions to limit community transmission and outbreaks and some businesses will be allowed to resume..


As part of this risk-adjusted strategy for economic activity, industries have been encouraged to adopt a work-from-home strategy where possible, and all staff who can work remotely must be allowed to do so..

The inter-ministerial meeting also has advised that workplace protocols should be in place and should include disease surveillance, prevention of the spread of infection, staff screening on a daily basis for COVID-19 symptoms, and stringent social distancing measures..

 

Shipping and Freight situation in SA

There has not been much change from the previous updates, and some relevant portions are repeated here for everyone’s benefit..

Essential cargoes as defined in Regulation 11A

  1. Food
    • Any food product, including non-alcoholic beverages ;
    • Animal food ; and
    • Chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any food product ;
  2. Cleaning and Hygiene Products
    • Toilet Paper, sanitary pads, sanitary tampons, condoms ;
    • Hand sanitiser, disinfectants, soap, alcohol for industrial use, household cleaning products, and personal protective equipment ; and
    • Chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any of the above
  3. Medical:
    • Medical and Hospital Supplies, equipment and personal protective equipment ; and
    • Chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any of the above
  4. Fuel, including coal and gas ;
  5. Basic goods, including airtime and electricity ;
  6. Transportation of wines and any other fresh produce products at the sea ports designated as Port of Entry for export is allowed ;
  7. Agricultural Cargo is allowed to be transported to sea ports designated as Ports of Entry and exported to the relevant destination

 

Imports

All import containers should be customs cleared and pre-assigned and each container vessel will be required to provide a mandatory import evacuation plan prior to berthing, to maintain stack fluidity during this period.. This plan must be honoured in order to avoid the severe consequence of the terminal being blocked out during this period..

TPT (Transnet Port Terminals) requires all clearances and assignment of containers prior to berthing.. It is the responsibility of the shipping line to move the import containers to a suitable facility within the free period..

TPT has reserved the right not to berth a vessel should these requirements not be met..

In terms of delivery of containerised import cargo, below is the current government ruling :

  1. All cargo (essential or non-essential) may be evacuated from ports of entry to their intended destination, provided that such cargo:-
    • has been customs cleared and released prior to removal, or is removed (e.g. to City Deep) by an approved container operator on the basis of a manifest submitted to SARS ; and
    • is delivered to an approved or licensed temporary storage facility (e.g. container terminal, container depot, sea or air transit shed, air de-grouping depot, railway station, etc) located at the intended destination of the cargo ;
  2. Once goods have been removed from a port of entry to a temporary storage facility, the physical delivery thereof to any consignee is subject to the restrictions imposed by the Regulations in respect of essential services and goods for the duration of the lockdown ;
  3. Essential goods may be delivered from temporary storage facilities to consignees who perform essential services, subject to a valid customs clearance and release and, where applicable, any release authorisation by the relevant Government agency ;
  4. Until such time as the lockdown periods ends, or any further amendment to the Regulations are made that allows for the delivery of non-essential goods to consignees, such goods must be stored in temporary storage facilities (e.g. container depots, sea or air transit sheds, air de-grouping depots, railway stations, etc.) ;
  5. This means the entities exercising release controls on behalf of SARS (e.g. container operators/carriers, container depots, sea or air transit sheds, air de-grouping depots, railway stations, etc.) may not allow the delivery of non-essential cargo to any consignee until after the lockdown and any deliveries made will be in contravention of regulations and this may attract penalties as outlined in 11G of the regulations.

In terms of exports, below is the current government ruling :

Only essential cargoes as regulated by the Government (shown above) will be allowed and TPT will not support the export of non-essential cargo unless exemption is granted through the relevant regulatory body authorised to grant such exemption..

TPT have advised though, that empty containers are required as a conveyance of essential goods and as such will allow the evacuation of empty containers as exports through their terminals..

You can follow COVID-19 information relating to shipping and freight in South Africa here..

 

*** End of Article ***

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