Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 27, 2005
Author: P&S

SAPO unveils plans for huge capital expenditure

Capital expenditure worth R1.1 billion is on target for this financial year, says Hamilton Nxumalo, General Manager Equipment Engineering and Asset Management for SA Port Operations (SAPO).

Among systems and equipment to be commissioned this year are new conveyors and a second tippler at the iron ore terminal at Saldanha Bay, which will take place during November. The old tippler will then be overhauled between April and July 2006.

In Durban Nxumalo expects the two outstanding IMPSA ship to shore (STS) post panamax cranes to be commissioned during November, which will increase the fleet of STS cranes at Durban Container Terminal to 19. However a number of the older machines are due to undergo heavy maintenance or eventual replacement so it will be a while before the terminal has full use of every machine.

Earlier this year the Pier 1 Container Terminal was inaugurated by SAPO chief executive Tau Morwe and when completed by 2008/09 Pier 1 will have a design capacity of 500,000 TEUs annually. The terminal currently utilizes two of the three available berths and handles a little over 110,000 TEUs pa due to temporary constraints with the stacking area.

Pier 1 Container Terminal is to be equipped with five news post panamax STS cranes, rubber tyred gantries and tractor-hauler equipment rather than the straddle carrier arrangement favoured at the adjacent DCT.

“We are at the procurement stage and anticipate finalizing the contracts estimated to be about R1.4 billion with prospective suppliers by December this year,” said Nxumalo.

The Cape Town Container Terminal will also receive new STS cranes to replace the fleet of older machines in order to accommodate the larger vessels already entering the South African service. A contract worth an estimated R745 is in the process of being finalised with a supplier and should be ready for signing by December this year.

“We have entered into a strategic alliance with Kalmar for the supply of 7th generation straddle carriers at an estimated cost of R431 million, to be deployed at Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Durban Container Terminal. The first batch is expected to arrive in January 2006,” he said.

According to Nxumalo SAPO plans to upgrade bulk materials handling countrywide and new equipment for the handling of breakbulk at Durban and Richards Bay has been ordered.

Durban container terminal delays until 1st week November

A combination of events outside SAPO’s control resulted in the latest bunching of vessels waiting for the Durban Container Terminal (DCT), says Moshe Motlohi, heads of operations at DCT.

He said today that high winds and strong swells brought about a combined loss of 41 hours during which access to the port was either delayed or prevented causing ships to bunch outside. Then on top of this came Monday’s one-day national stay away which focused on Durban and the container terminal in particular, causing some ships to cut and run from the port.

On Monday the terminal had planned for 4,000 container moves but due to the small workforce available only 1259 moves were achieved.

SAPO says it expects delays averaging 32 hours for the next seven days. However all resources were being marshalled including additional gangs to work off the backlog – in the past 24 hours the terminal achieved 4,125 container moves on the wharfside and 3,500 on the landside – the latter despite the congestion among truckers outside the gates (see News Bulletin dated yesterday). It is expected that operations will be fully back on schedule by 6 November.

Both Durban container terminals remain open 24 hours a day seven days a week.

Agriport becomes a part of SAPO

Agriport, the bulk terminal operation opposite berth 8 on Durban’s Maydon Wharf, has been absorbed into SA Port Operations which is in the process of fully amalgamated the terminal SAPO systems, including all personnel going onto the SAPO payroll.

Agriport has in fact been a strange fish in the sometimes muddied waters of Durban Bay, being a joint venture between Viamax, another Transnet subsidiary which specialises in logistical supplies, and SAPO. Quite how Viamax fitted into port operations has never seemed very clear while the role that SAPO played was even less so, leaving the impression that Agriport had become something of a forgotten backwater of the port.

This is despite it having provided the port’s first grain elevator which, at its completion in 1927, was the country’s largest with a capacity of 42,000 tons. This was only exceeded in the 1960s when the East London grain elevator was built.

Since the turn of the millennium with the advent of the wood chip plant adjacent to Agriport, a modernization programme has been underway, including having the old corrugated iron clad gallery demolished to make way for a modern concrete structure complete with new shiploaders.

As part of SAPO Agriport will continue to compete with Bidfreight Bulk Terminals which operate from Maydon Wharf and Island View.

Bunker supplies in short supply

Bunker supplies at Durban and Richards Bay are in extremely short supply following the programmed maintenance shutdowns of the BP & Shell refinery and that of Engen in the city.

Bunker suppliers have been advised that supplies will be back to normal by the end of October but in the meantime the bunker delivery vessel Dolphin Coast, which carries bunker fuel from Durban to Richards Bay, has had to remain largely idle with only four trips out of a scheduled ten having been possible.

It is believed that between 3,000 and 4,000 tons was to be batched tonight and this would be distributed according to orders among the two barging companies and the harbour bunker pipe system.

Maputo container terminal report

The container terminal at Maputo – MIPS – is currently operating at 52% of its capacity, reports Jan Bekker, New Business Development Manager of MIPS.

Bekker was addressing a meeting of the combined MCLI and Exporter’s Club in Gauteng yesterday. Outlining MIPS achievements since P&O Ports was awarded the concession to 2013, he revealed that US.5 million had so far been spent on upgrading fixed infrastructure and acquiring additional equipment.

Future short to long term investment planned is expected to be in the region of another US million, which will include new container forklifts, additional tugmasters, a new entrance to the terminal and a transit warehouse to handle packing of containers such as ambient citrus into reefer containers.

He said the terminal capacity stood at 100,000 TEU per annum, with the berths having a depth alongside of – 11 metres. The terminal had 116 reefer slots.

Performance levels achieved are:

Crane moves per hour – 15 per crane
Berth occupancy averages 30%

Container throughput in TEUs since 1996:

1996 – 9,000
2001 – 32,500
2002 – 35,000
2003 – 39,500
2004 – 45,000
2005 – 52,000 (estimated)

Shipping lies that call direct at Maputo are:

Ocean Africa Container Lines – weekly to Durban, Dar es Salaam and northern Mozambique ports.
MSC - fortnightly feeder service to Durban.
MACS - fortnightly to UK and North European Continent.
MACS GAL - monthly to USA Gulf.
Ignazio Messina - fortnightly to East Africa and Mediterranean.
Global Container Lines - monthly to East Africa, India and Persian Gulf.

Bekker said that the port was constrained by having no direct shipping service to the Far East while the feeder services to Durban were not competitive. There was a lack of a regular and efficient rail service, and Maputo had limited warehousing to handle containerisation of breakbulk cargo that arrives by road.

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