The ports industry is in a state of radical change and uncertainty, which requires flexible and adaptable port planning and design, said Phyllis Difeto, Transnet National Ports Authority’s (TNPA) Chief Operations Officer, while speaking at the African Ports Evolution 2015 conference in Durban.
“The impact of the global economic downturn is a daily reminder to ports of the need to change ‘business as usual’,” she said.
“Innovative techniques are required to adapt to the pressures of integrating the global supply chain, the need for greater port expansion and the immediate requirement to preserve natural resources.”
Transnet’s Market Demand Strategy is in its third year of implementation. Transnet had invested R92.8bn to date, of which port investments had amounted to R5.78bn. TNPA’s investment in the South African port system over the next 10 years would be R 56bn, of which R320m will be spent in the 2015/16 financial year.
“A total of around R2bn will be spent over the next five years to refurbish existing repair facilities, while we will invest an estimated R13 to 15bn to create new repair facilities at the South African ports,” said Difeto.
“We are addressing current challenges in the Port of Durban where depth restrictions demand an urgent programme of dredging and berth deepening. In Richards Bay we will create additional container handling capacity through the short term installation of mobile cranes and a medium term expansion for the port to handle up to 100 000 TEUs of containerised cargo,” she added.
Difeto said TNPA’s anticipated major port infrastructure projects between 2015/16 and 2021/22 would include:
- Two projects to create additional capacity and deeper berths at the Durban Container Terminal
- Operationalising the Port of Ngqura
- Creating bulk capacity at the Port of Ngqura; additional bulk capacity would also be created at the port of Richards Bay through a new LNG terminal and additional bulk liquid berth
- Creating break bulk capacity through the reconstruction of sheet pile quay walls at the Durban Maydon Wharf precinct’s berths 1-2 and 13-14
- A fleet management programme for all ports including the acquisition of tug boats, pilot boats, launchers and dredgers
- Acquiring new helicopters for Durban and Richards Bay
- Infrastructure developments at the ports of Durban, Saldanha, Cape Town, East London and Port Elizabeth, to support the oil and gas sectors as well as the ship repair and building industries
“We have made solid progress. We have digitised seven of our eight ports through our Integrated Port Management System (IPMS), with the eight due to go live later this month. We are monitoring port efficiencies and have implemented performance operating standards for all operations – at the terminal, marine, haulier / road and rail interfaces. We are in the process of establishing Joint Operations Centres (JOC) across the port system,” she added.