State-owned freight logistics group Transnet has identified containerised traffic as one of the key drivers of growth in South Africa.
In the group’s six month review released in October, it says it is investing significant capital to upgrade and expand Transnet’s container handling capabilities at its rail and port operations.
Transnet is expected to spend an estimated R80,3-billion on the expansions.
The group has identified this growth potential in the increase in the number of containers transported by three of its divisions. Transnet Freight Rail’s (TFR’s) general freight business (GFB) recorded transporting more containers than it did in the year ending September 30, 2007.
Growth in container volumes was also the main driver of revenue increases at Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) and Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA).
The volume of containers transported by GFB by rail has increased by 9% compared with the 287 000 twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) for 2007, which is in line with Transnet’s strategy of increasing its long-haul con- tainer volume market share.
TPT’s revenue increased by 14,7%, to R2,7-billion, and TNPA’s increased by 9%, to R3,8-billion, compared with the figures for the previous year.
As part of the R80-billion expansion, TFR will spend about R38-billion between 2008/9 and 2012/13, TPT will spend some R10,3-billion, and the TNPA will spend about R16,3-billion.
The key container handling expansion projects that have been approved include the expansion of the coal line and the iron-ore export channel, including upgrades to the rail line and port system; the Cape Town container terminal will be widened, deepened and better equipped and the Port of Ngqura wil continue to be developed and expanded to the value of R1-billion.
The expansion of the Port of Durban involves the redevelop- ment of Pier 1 as a container handling facility, and increased car terminal capacity.
Some R682-million will be spent on the current widening and deepening of the Port of Durban entrance channel and R299-million is to be spent on the re-engineering of the harbour’s container terminal.
TPT plans to spend R504-million to increase the capacity of the container terminal at Cape Town’s port to 1,4-million TEUs a year from the current 740 000 TEUs a year.
A crane erection site is being assembled at the Cape Town container terminal during 2008. This site will be used for the delivery and assembly of new Liebherr ship-to-shore cranes. A total of eight new ship-to-shore cranes will replace the current fleet of four Demag and two Noell cranes at the terminal, with half of the new Liebherr fleet expected to be in place by December 2008.
An important aspect of the Cape Town container terminal expansion programme is the move from straddle carriers to a rubber tyre gantry (RTG) oper- ation. The RTG contract was awarded in June 2008 and delivery of the first RTGs is expected in mid-2009.
The Cape Town container terminal will boast no fewer than 32 RTGs by the end of the expansion programme in 2012.
Into the future, TPT’s focus will remain on creating capacity ahead of demand as it expects growth in the movement of containers to double within the next eight years, said TPT CEO Tau Morwe at a business networking forum with the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry in August.
He added that TPT would also continue to focus on developing its corridors leading to the port terminals, as this would offer the right services to its customers from an intermodal point of view.