Celebrating a million tons of wood chips on ships

Sep 4, 2007
Author: Lunga Ngcobo

More than a million tonnes of wood chips by now have been exported through the joint venture wood chipping facility on Durban’s Maydon Wharf

Durban - Tuesday, 4 September 2007 - Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) and NCT Durban Woodchips (Pty) Ltd have a million reasons to engage in joint celebration – they are toasting the success of one million tons of wood chips exported to Japan through Durban.

TPT’s Agriport, the bulk terminal operation at Durban’s Maydon Wharf, in partnership with NCT Woodchips (Pty) Ltd, loaded their first woodchip vessel, the Hokuestsu Ace, in February 2005 with 27,036 tons.

Transnet’s Group Chief Executive, Ms Maria Ramos, officially opened the NCT Woodchips facility in 2005.

In July 2007 the millionth ton of wood chips was loaded on the Hokuetsu Hope II. Also, Agriport broke its own record of loading the vessel at an average rate of 565 tons per hour with Agriport’s ship loader.

The wood-chip plant cost R82-million and was the first fully environmentally- approved wood chip export facility. It is designed to operate on a just-in-time principle, with logs being chipped immediately after they arrive at the facility and then directly loaded onto the ship. Agriport spent R30-million on the loading facility.

logs on the way to the chipper

Today (Tuesday 4 September 2007) Agriport and NCT Woodchips (Pty) Ltd executives and staff hosted a celebratory function at the NCT Wood Chips site at Durban harbour to mark the million tons milestone that was reached within three years.

Tracey Neat, TPT’s Business Unit Executive at the Maydon Wharf Multi-purpose terminal and Agriport, said it was an exceptional achievement that a million tons of wood chips had been exported since 2005.

She said initially one vessel was loaded every five weeks. However, recently a vessel was loaded with wood chips every four weeks.

“Everybody associated with the venture - from those involved in the growing of timber and those responsible for chipping the wood to the people entrusted with loading the ships - must be complimented for their dedication and hard work.”

Volley Keyser Chairman of NCT Woodchips (Pty) Ltd, said since the launch of the wood chip export facility three years ago, a quality long-term market had been brought to the doorstep of independent timber growers in southern and
central KwaZulu-Natal.

He said the wood chip plant was a perfect example of a successful public-private partnership between landlord TPT-Agriport and NCT Woodchips (Pty) Ltd and the private timber growers.

“It is the team spirit and co-operation between the timber growers, NCT Woodchips (Pty) Ltd and Agriport that enabled us to achieve this remarkable milestone," he said.


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