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Infrastructure spending gathers pace at Transnet Port Terminals

The Market Demand Strategy (MDS) is Transnet’s R300 billion, seven year infrastructure programme that will see the modernisation of South Africa’s rail, port and pipeline infrastructure by the state-owned logistics company. The aggressive investment is designed to boost capacity ahead of demand.
Transnet Port Terminals is responsible for investing about R33 billion, or just over 10%, of the overall spend as they refurbish the country’s terminals spread across Durban and Richards Bay in Kwa-Zulu Natal, East London, Port Elizabeth and the Ngqura Container Terminal in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape as well Saldanha and the Cape Town Terminals in the Western Cape.

The MDS rests on increasing capacity and capability, customer confidence, asset efficiency, a strong human resources pipeline and a zero incident mindset – which are aimed at positioning South Africa as the preferred trading hub into southern Africa. This will be underpinned by a significant growth in volumes and revenue as well as an accountable and highly skilled workforce. MDS initiatives currently underway 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.

The spending is directed towards purchase of equipment, reconfiguration and upgrade of facilities as well as training of staff for Transnet’s own needs as well those of the wider economy, in line with Transnet’s commitment to the country’s agenda. Over the next two financial years, the container terminals at Durban Pier 1 and 2, Port Elizabeth and Ngqura as well as Cape Town will receive a total of R2, 97 billion for both equipment and infrastructure. All this will take TPT’s overall container terminal capacity from its current 4 million TEUs to 7 million TEUs by 2019.

Durban Pier 2 is set to receive 15 twin lift straddles as well as two rail-mounted gantries and two ship to shore cranes during this year while the South Quay is set for an upgrade to be completed in May next year, along with the full automation of the truck staging area. The overall spend at Pier 2 will be R1, 3 billion and will increase the terminal’s container handling capacity to 3, 3 million TEUs by 2017.

Pier 1 will see the mid-life refurbishment of 18 rubber – tyred gantry cranes, six ship-to-shore cranes as well as the delivery of two reach stackers over the next two years. New staff facilities at Berth 107 were completed in February this year and construction on the central staff facility has commenced making the project total R 70 million. Pier 1 will ramp-up its handling capacity to 1, 3 million TEUs by 2016.

Still in the Eastern Cape, the Port Elizabeth terminal is set to take delivery of 10 straddle carriers and have quay side rail replaced, all during the next two years at a cost of R334 million.

The Cape Town Container Terminal expenditure of R115 million in 2015/16 is part of the port’s R 5,7 billion infrastructure spend and is directed towards new panamax cranes, stackers, the second phase of the expansion project as well the resurfacing of the refrigerated container stack set for completion by 2015/2016.

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

TPT’s Richards Bay Terminals will also see about R407 million investments in the current financial year and R515 million in 2015/2016 towards capacity creation projects and equipment. A purchase of two additional grab unloaders are planned for 2016/2017 while the construction of additional capacity worth R347 million, is already in progress due for completion next year. Richards Bay will in the next five years purchase a new tippler, additional to the existing two.

“No other company has undertaken such aggressive investment in growth anywhere in Africa. As TPT we are proud to be at the heart of this process driving it to ensure that South Africa can trade with the rest of the world and be globally competitive.” concludes Socikwa.

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