State-owned Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) is planning to bid, possibly with partners, for the right to operate any possible new terminal capacity that could arise should South Africa proceed with the development of the so-called ‘dig-out port’ at the old Durban International Airport site, in KwaZulu-Natal.
The bigger Transnet group is in the process of securing the land from the Airport Company of South Africa and it has indicated previously that the development, which would be a Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) project, could involve an initial investment of some R50-billion.
TPT CEO Karl Socikwa told business people in Johannesburg on Tuesday that its volume projections indicated that additional container terminal capacity could be required by as early as 2019, notwithstanding current initiatives to bolster the capacity of the Durban Container Terminal.
TPT would have to compete for the right to operate on the site in line with South Africa’s ports legislation. But Socikwa insisted that it would not have an unfair advantage over its competitors simply as a result of the fact that both TPT and TNPA, the port landlord, resided within the same corporate entity.
That said, TPT would “fight” for the opportunity to participate in what could become a future key “gateway” harbour.
Similarly, the unit, which had 16 terminals and assets of R13.5-billion, was hoping to position itself as a favoured African trans-shipment port system.
To achieve this, attention was being given to improving efficiencies at the existing terminals, as well as to building capacity at the Port of Ngqura, in the Eastern Cape, which was currently the group’s main trans-shipment hub.
Socikwa said the uptake at Ngqura had been “beyond our wildest expectations”, and two additional ship-to-shore cranes would be added by January, raising the harbour’s total crane complement to eight.
In the year-to-date, total container volumes across all of TPT’s facilities had risen to 2.2-million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), from 2.16-million TEUs in the corresponding period last year.