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Floods Shut Down Port of Durban, Posing Major Threat to China-Africa Trade

Residents of Umlazi township stand over a bridge and watch containers that fell over at a container storage facility following heavy rains and winds in Durban, on April 12, 2022. Phill Magakoe / AFP

The devastating floods and landslides that have ravaged South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province all week are now impacting key arteries in the global supply chain and threatening one of China’s most vital trade hubs in Africa.

South Africa accounts for at least 20% of the continent’s entire trade with China, more than any other country on the continent. Much of what’s shipped to China passes through the Port of Durban in KZN which has been damaged by the storms. Earlier this week, the government-run port operator, Transnet, announced that all shipping operations at the port have been suspended.

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