Port of Ngqura.

With a permanent operating licence for the manganese terminal at the Port of Ngqura being granted by Cabinet to Transnet Port Terminals on 13 August 2015, the company has a green light for the estimated R8bn development of a bulk minerals export terminal. The modern and state of the art Bulk terminal is set to handle its first vessel in February 2019.

 “It’s all systems go for us to relocate our Port Elizabeth manganese operation by the 2018/19 deadline. We will operate the existing two deepwater dry bulk berths C100 and C101 at the Port of Ngqura (PoN) while the full expansion project ramps up to meet an anticipated throughput demand of 16mt per annum by 2020 and thereafter to 22mt if required.” said Karl Socikwa Chief Executive Transnet Port Terminals (TPT.)

Transnet Port terminals have invested in additional capital for minor refurbishment of the total plant at the Port Elizabeth terminal to sustain the current plant capacity until the anticipated Ngqura Manganese Export Terminal start-up. The annual Port Elizabeth terminal shut down commenced on 11 August 2015 and coincides with the TFR and Manganese Industry shutdowns.

“An innovative plan to minimize the disruption of manganese exports during the relocation has been devised and shared with our mining clients. It includes directing some of the ore through Saldanha and Durban and containerizing it, among other things. Our commitment to excellence will be evident in the operation of the new, modern terminal in Ngqura,” Socikwa said.

The confidence shown in TPT’s ability to operate the new manganese terminal stems from, amongst other, the company having operated the Port of Ngqura’s container terminal since its inception along with the many successes associated with this port since then. The accolades include the Ngqura Container Terminal being recognised as the fastest growing container terminal in the world by Drewry Maritime Research with an impressive safety record to match recognized by NOSA; as well as TPT’s more recent nomination as a top 3 finalist of the 2015 Business Continuity Institute Africa Awards resulting from the effective recovery implemented at the Ngqura Container Terminal during an industrial action. Furthermore, TPT has proven their expertise in the operation of bulk facilities, as evidenced in the Iron Ore terminal in Saldanha, the manganese terminal in Port Elizabeth and the Richards Bay Dry Bulk terminal.

“The granting of the license issued in terms of Section 79(1) of the Ports Act, not only recognizes TPT’s more-than-50 year operation at PE but endorses us as an efficient and experienced bulk minerals terminal operator. It will also ensure a smooth relocation of the operation and continued execution of Transnet’s Market Demand Strategy and government’s Operation Phakisa,” Socikwa added.

Job opportunities have also been identified resulting from the construction of the terminal and the need for various new terminal operations positions are predicted due to the threefold increase in volumes. Terminal infrastructure at the port will comprise of new bulk materials handling equipment, including stockyard, stackers, reclaimers and surge bins, roads, infrastructure services and buildings, as well as a train marshalling yard with an unloading system (tippler).

Engineering designs for the Ngqura Manganese Export terminal project are expected to be completed by November 2015. Thereafter, the project will progress to construction which is expected to be completed around the end of 2018.