R5.4 Billion Cape Town harbour expansion 'on track' in South Africa

The R5.4-billion expansion of Cape Town harbour’s container terminal is on track for completion within budget and ahead of schedule, state company Transnet said following the dredging and refurbishing of the second of four quays being upgraded.

The completion of berth 602 saw 720 metres of quay wall made available to accommodate two 305-metre vessels along the quay.

“This project signifies our commitment to ensure the competitiveness of our economy as custodians of our transport and logistics infrastructure,” Transnet CEO Brian Molefe said at a ceremony at the harbour earlier this month.

“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.”

Key drivers of growth
Completion of the five-year-long project will double the terminal’s capacity to 1.4-million TEUs per annum. A TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) is the volume of a standard 6 metre shipping container

Commenting on the completion of work at the berth, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi 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,” Gigaba said. “Crucially, this serves as a catalyst for long term growth, investment and efficiencies in the Western Cape region.”

Reaping the benefits
The project will have a significant impact on Transnet’s container handling capacity, which includes the expansion of capacity of container terminals in Durban, and the construction of the state-of–the-art Ngqura Container Terminal outside Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.

Transnet Port Terminals CEO 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,” Socikwa said.

“From a customer perspective, the rate at which containers are moved per hour has improved by more than 30% over the past 12 months.”

Key aspects of the project include:

Deepening to 15.5m all four berths, together with the Ben Schoeman Basin.
Reconfiguring the stack yard to maximise space.
Replacing the old ship to shore cranes with eight Liebherr Super Post-Panamax cranes with twin-lift capability. Six of these are already in place.
Replacing straddle carriers with 28 Kalmar manufactured rubber-tyre gantry cranes that stack containers wider, deeper and higher.
Refurbishing the quay wall to support the Super Post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes.
Introducing additional reefer plug points for refrigerated containers, with a total of 2 712 reefer points to be served by gantry cranes.
Recruiting and training operators of lifting equipment to operate the new cranes.
“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,” Molefe said. “The funding is purely on the attractiveness of these projects.”