R33bn upgrade for South Africa’s ports

4 May 2012

Port operator Transnet Port Terminals will spend R33-billion (US$4.3-billion) over the next seven years on upgrading and expanding South Africa’s ports, as part of a massive state-led infrastructure drive aimed at boosting the country’s economic growth.

The R33-billion capital expenditure will form part of state-owned Transnet Group’s R300-billion (US$39.1-billion) expenditure on port and rail capital projects until 2018/19.

Unveiling details of the expenditure in Durban on Thursday, Transnet Port Terminals CEO Karl Socikwa said Transnet’s new market demand strategy “has major implications for our division’s responsibility to facilitate unconstrained growth, unlock demand and create world-class port operations through improved efficiencies.

Boosting port competitiveness, efficiency

“It entails an acceleration of our capacity creation programmes at all our major terminals, to ensure that we are able to grow the economy and make the ports as competitive and efficient as possible,” Socikwa said in a statement.

Seventy-one percent of the R33-billion spend will be on port expansion projects, while the remaining 29% will go towards “capital sustaining projects”, including the replacement and refurbishment of equipment, Socikwa said.

The expansion projects will see major increases in the container handling capacity of the ports in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal and Ngqura outside Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.

Container handling capacity

Durban Continer Terminal’s Pier 1 will see its capacity grow from 700 000 to 1.2-million TEUs by 2016/17, while its Pier 2 capacity will expand from 2.1-million to 3.3-million TEUs by 2017/18.

The Ngqura Container Terminal, which has been earmarked as a transshipment hub, will be expanded from 800 000 to 2-million TEUs by 2018/19.

Container capacity is also being created in other terminals, such as the Durban Ro-Ro and Maydon Wharf Terminal, through the acquisition of new equipment, including as mobile cranes, and various infrastructure upgrades.

Bulk handling capacity

The bulk handling capacity at Ngqura, Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal, and Saldanha in the Western Cape will also come in for major expansion.

R3.7-billion has been set aside for the ageing Richards Bay Terminal, with investments in mobile equipment, quayside equipment and weighbridges fast-tracked for 2012/13, and safety-critical, environmental and legal compliance projects also in the pipeline.

R1.2-billion will be spent on creating new capacity, including new storage areas, at Richards Bay, while Transnet also pursues the reengineering of the port to create additional capacity for bulk products at the terminal.

Saldanha’s iron ore bulk facility, which has undergone significant expansion in recent years, will be further expanded, taking its capacity from 60 to 82 million tons per annum.

Additional manganese capacity will be created by relocating the existing, 5.5mtpa export facility in Port Elizabeth to a new two-berth manganese facility at the Port of Ngqura, boosting capacity to 12 million tons per annum from 2016/17.

SAinfo reporter