South Africa’s state-owned freight transport and logistics giant Transnet Limited today celebrated a significant milestone in its R5.4 billion expansion of the Cape Town Container Terminal. On completion, the five-year project will double the terminal’s capacity to 1, 4 million TEUs per annum.
Speaking at a ceremony attended by Public Enterprises Minister, Mr Malusi Gigaba, Group Chief Executive, Mr Brian Molefe, announced the company had completed major dredging, deepening and refurbishment work at Berth 602, the second of four berths to undergo such upgrades. The completion of Berth 602 saw 720m of quay wall made available to accommodate two large 305m vessels along the quay.
“This project signifies our commitment to ensure the competitiveness of our economy as custodians of our transport and logistics infrastructure. The investment, which is part of our R110 billion rolling five-year capital investment programme will not only increase capacity but go a long way towards improving productivity and efficiency at our ports,” Mr Molefe adds.
Commenting on the milestone, Minister Gigaba said state owned entities like Transnet, through their expansion projects, were encouraged to be the key drivers of the government’s developmental objectives as articulated in the New Growth Path.
“Modernising our transport infrastructure, especially at our ports, is a significant stride towards lowering the cost of doing business in this country, job creation and economic growth. Crucially, this serves as a catalyst for long term growth, investment and efficiencies in the Western Cape region,” the minister said.
The project, which is on track to be completed ahead of schedule and within the approved budget, will have a significant impact on Transnet’s container handling capacity which also includes the expansion of capacity in the company’s container terminals in Durban and the construction of the state-of–the-art Ngqura Container Terminal in the Eastern Cape.
Transnet Port Terminals Chief Executive, Mr Karl Socikwa, said the division was already reaping the benefits of the investment. “This terminal consistently exceeds customer expectations including higher ship working hour and our own efficiency targets. From a customer perspective, the rate at which containers are moved per hour has improved by more than 30 percent over the past 12 months.”
The key aspects of the project include:
- The deepening to 15.5m of all four berths, together with the Ben Schoeman Basin
- Reconfiguration of the stack yard to maximise space.
- Replacement of the old ship to shore cranes with eight Liebherr Super Post Panamax cranes with twin lift capability. Six of these are in place to date.
- Replacing straddle carriers with 28 Kalmar manufactured rubber tyred gantry (RTG) cranes that stack containers wider, deeper and higher.
- Refurbishment of the quay wall to support the Super Post Panamax ship-to-shore cranes.
- Introduction of additional reefer plug points for refrigerated containers, with a total of 2,712 reefer points to be served by gantry cranes.
- An aggressive recruitment and training programme for operators of lifting equipment (OLEs) to operate the new cranes.
Besides container terminals, Transnet’s capital investment programme entails the purchase of hundreds of locomotives for its rail freight division, Transnet Freight Rail and the construction of a new pipeline for petroleum products between the coast and inland regions.
“Finally, it is heartening to note that this project and indeed the rest of our capital rejuvenation initiatives are funded on the strength of our balance sheet without any government guarantees or subsidies. The funding is purely on the attractiveness of these projects,” Mr Molefe concludes.