INFRASTRUCTURE SPENDING GATHERS PACE AT TRANSNET PORTS: Operational capital to reach R2.7 billion in 2015/2016


Transnet Port Terminals’s (TPT), an operating division of Transnet SOC infrastructure spending, is gaining momentum under Transnet’s Market Demand Strategy (MDS). The 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.

After R1.6 billion expenditure in the last financial year, spending is set to rise to R7 billion in 2018/2019.

“Our 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,” says Karl Socikwa, TPT Chief Executive.


TPT invests R33 billion on regional terminal upgrades

Transnet Port Terminals is responsible for investing about R33 billion, or just over 10%, of the overall spend as the company refurbishes the country’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 Saldanha and the Cape Town Terminals in the Western Cape.

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. This will take TPT’s overall container terminal capacity from its current 4 million TEUs to 7 million TEUs by 2019,” says Socikwa.


Eastern Cape TPT Terminals enjoys remarkable growth

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

This will see the terminal increase its handling capacity to 1 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in the current financial year owing to the additional berth that is already in operation and complemented by the terminal’s new equipment (which includes 48 hauliers). NCT 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 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.


Significant investment in Western Cape terminals

 The Cape Town Container Terminal expenditure of R115 million in 2015/16 is part of the port’s R5,7 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 a new tippler worth R1.2 billion, mid-life refurbishment of existing terminal equipment and conveyor belt replacement.

“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 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,” concludes Socikwa. 


Equipment upgrades in KZN to increase terminals’ handling capacity

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 2015, 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.

Durban 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.

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.