Port Elizabeth grows its cargo

Sep 1, 2005
Author: P&S

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It’s been a good year for Port Elizabeth harbour during the financial year 2004/2005 ending 31 March.

Figures released recently show that the container terminal, South Africa’s third largest, handled a total of 340,000 TEUs (twenty foot container equivalents) during the financial year ending 31 March 2005. A spokesman for SA Port Operations (SAPO) told Ports & Ships the terminal expects container handling to continue increasing to about 450,000 TEUs by 2009 by which time he indicated the terminal will be out of capacity.

Over at the manganese terminal the port handled 2.5 million tonnes of export ore during the year, which is a considerable improvement from the 1.5mt handled in the 2002/03 financial year. This is expected to further increase to 3.5mt in the 2006/07 financial year and to 4.25mt by 2009/10 and to achieve this a R50 million refurbishment programme has been scheduled.

SAPO is planning other improvements to the port, despite some uncertainty over which and when terminals will relocate to Coega. The car terminal, which is apparently destined to remain at Port Elizabeth, is to have parking facilities expanded by 466 additional parking bays at a cost of R16 million which will help increase the annual capacity to 70,000 units – up from the current 61,000 units.

The container terminal will have two shoreside gantry cranes refurbished at a cost of R6m, rail links into the terminal will be extended at a cost of R10m, and additional straddle carriers have been ordered from the Finnish manufacturer Kalmar.

Regarding the anticipated move of the manganese, petroleum and container terminals from Port Elizabeth to the port of Ngqura (Coega) some 20km from Port Elizabeth on the Mandela Bay coastline (Algoa Bay), a recent draft report commissioned by the Mandela Bay Development Agency suggests it would take two years to rehabilitate the land from accumulated petroleum spillages at the petroleum terminal, which overlook Port Elizabeth’s main beaches.

The area occupied by the tanks is earmarked for the planned Mandela statue or memorial, on a position overlooking the harbour entrance.

Concern about the quantity of dust generated by the handling of manganese has also become a concern, although it has been revealed that the local municipality stopped monitoring dust levels at this terminal as long ago as 1992.

In April the minister of public enterprises, Alec Erwin indicated the petroleum and manganese terminals would remain in place at Port Elizabeth until at least 2009/10.

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