The Western Cape’s Saldanha and Cape Town port terminals stands to benefit from a R33bn investment by Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) on its regional terminal upgrades.

This amount is just more than 10% of the overall spend as it sets out to refurbish South Africa’s terminals spread across Durban and Richards Bay in Kwa-Zulu Natal, East London, Port Elizabeth and the Ngqura Container Terminal in the Eastern Cape, as well as Saldanha and the Cape Town terminals in the Western Cape.

The spending is directed towards the buying of equipment, reconfiguration and upgrade of facilities, and training of staff for Transnet’s own needs and those of the wider economy.

Karl Socikwa, TPT chief executive, said the container terminals at Durban Pier 1 and 2, Port Elizabeth, Ngqura and Cape Town, would receive R2.97bn for both equipment and infrastructure over the next two financial years. “This will take TPT’s overall container terminal capacity from its current 4 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) to 7 million TEUs by 2019.”

Transnet is also investing an additional R300bn in its market demand strategy – a seven-year infrastructure programme that will see the modernisation of South Africa’s rail, port and pipeline infrastructure by the state-owned logistics company.

Socikwa said the terminal infrastructure upgrade programme has reached a critical stage for TPT and the wider Transnet group.

“TPT expects to see rapid capacity increase in the years ahead,” Socikwa added.

The Cape Town Container Terminal expenditure of R115m in 2015/16 is part of the port’s R5.7bn infrastructure spend and is directed towards new panamax cranes, stackers, the second phase of the expansion project, and the resurfacing of the refrigerated container stack set for completion over the next two years.

Durban Pier 2 is to receive 15 twin-lift straddles, two rail-mounted gantries and two ship-to-shore cranes this year, while the South Quay is due for an upgrade to be completed next May, along with the full automation of the truck staging area.

The overall spend at Pier 2 will be R1.3bn and will increase the terminal’s container handling capacity to 3.3 million TEUs by 2017.

Durban Pier 1 will see the mid-life refurbishment of 18 rubber-tyred gantry cranes, six ship-to-shore cranes, and the delivery of two reach stackers over the next two years. New staff facilities at Berth 107 were completed in February, and construction on the central staff facility has started, making the project total R70m.

Pier 1 will increase its handling capacity to 1.3 million TEUs by 2016. TPT’s Richards Bay Terminals will also receive about R407m investments in the current financial year, and R515m in 2015/2016 towards creation projects and equipment. The buying of two additional grab unloaders are planned for 2016/2017, while the construction of additional capacity worth R347m is already in progress, due for completion next year.

Additional developments include the Ngqura Container Terminal (NCT) and taking delivery of new rubber-tyred gantries and mobile harbour cranes in March as part of a R1.1bn investment.

This will see the terminal increase its handling capacity to 1 million TEUs in the current financial year because of the additional berth that is already in operation and complemented by the terminal’s new equipment.

Ngqura Container Terminal was opened in October 2009 and has enjoyed phenomenal growth in its period of operation, having begun with a throughput of 78 935 TEUs in its first year of operation.

Port Elizabeth Terminal is to take de-livery of 10 straddle carriers and have quay side rails replaced during the next two years at a cost of R334m.

In the past financial year the market demand strategy has seen significant investment on the facilities that handle mineral exports, such as the Saldanha Iron Ore terminal which includes installation of a new tippler worth R1.2bn, mid-life refurbishment of existing terminal equipment, and conveyor belt replacement.

Socikwa said the market demand strategy rested on increasing capacity and capability, customer confidence, asset efficiency, a strong human resources pipeline, and a zero incident mindset, which were aimed at positioning South Africa as the preferred hub into Southern Africa.

“This will be underpinned by a significant growth in volumes and revenues, as well as an accountable and highly skilled workforce. MDS initiatives, currently under way and supported by TPT, will make South Africa a more profitable and efficient logistics hub, and in turn will contribute to South Africa’s socio-economic development though skills development and job creation.”


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