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Boegoebaai deep-water port project and special economic zone, South Africa – update

Schematic of the strategic environmental assessment

Photo by Council for Scientific and Industrial Research

14th June 2024

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor


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Name of the Project
Boegoebaai deep-water port project and special economic zone (SEZ).

Boegoebaai, in the Northern Cape of in South Africa, near the Namibian border.

Project Owner/s
State-owned Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA).

Project Description
The project entails the design, funding and construction of a greenfield deep-water port at Boegoebaai, as well as rail infrastructure linking the port to mines in the province.

The area has also been earmarked as a possible hub for the production and export of green hydrogen and derivative products.

The TNPA released a request for qualification (RFQ) in August 2022 for the design, funding and construction of the proposed greenfield port and rail infrastructure as a precursor to a possible future request for proposals (RFPs).

In July 2023, TNPA released details of the companies participating in the three consortia shortlisted to participate in the bidding process for the project.

The three consortia named were the Boegoebaai Port & Rail Consortium, the Boegoebaai Development Consortium and the Project Elephant Consortium.

The participants in the consortiums include:

Port of Rotterdam, A.P Moller and Capital, Nako Systra, Nako Iliso, CPRDW-Consulting Port and Coastal Engineers, WBHO, Thelo and DB Scheneker in the Boegoebaai Port & Rail Consortium;

Meridiam SAS, Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Managers, Bouygues TP, Vinci Construction, Raubex Group, Coega Development Corporation, Afrimat Limited, WSP Consulting Engineers and Gibb Consulting Engineers in the Boegoebaai Development Consortium; and

Newlyn Group’s Briardale Trading, Afcon Infrastructure Limited, Yapi Merkezi Insaat ve Sanayi Anonim Sirketi, Mota-Engil and Traxtion Sheltam in the Project Elephant Consortium.

The release date for the tender has not yet been confirmed.

Potential Job Creation
To be determined.

Capital Expenditure
To be determined.

Planned Start/End Date
The TNPA aims to operationalise a port in the region by 2026.

Latest Developments
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has said it is leading the strategic environmental assessment (SEA) that is being undertaken for the Northern Cape’s planned green hydrogen production facilities in a proposed new SEZ, as well as a port, at Boegoebaai.  

The spatial area for the SEA includes the proposed port, the associated SEZ adjacent to the port and the broader Namakwa region.

A local-scale SEA study will assess the sustainability of the proposed port and SEZ development area of about 33 500 ha, while a regional-scale SEA study will cover sustainability issues associated with the Northern Cape green hydrogen economy for the Namakwa area, delineated by the local municipalities of Richtersveld, Nama Khoi, Kamiesberg and Khâi-Ma.

The CSIR has said the SEA process will have a holistic approach that includes biophysical and socioeconomic aspects at a strategic level.

It will include independent expert teams that will contribute their expertise on domains such as marine ecology and biodiversity, including coastal birds; terrestrial ecology and biodiversity; terrestrial birds and bats; surface and groundwater; sustainable port planning; fisheries and coastal livelihoods; conservation planning; regional planning, including human movement and infrastructure; and socioeconomics associated with this development.

In the context of a regional hydrogen economy in the Northern Cape, an SEA is especially necessary, CSIR Environmental Management Services group leader and seasoned environmental practitioner Paul Lochner has said. 

“Globally, there is strong interest in the potential for green hydrogen to replace fossil fuels, particularly in sectors where it is difficult to reduce fossil-fuel-based emissions  such as aviation, shipping and bulk transport. These sectors are crucial to meeting climate change commitments. The proposed generation of green hydrogen at Boegoebaai would be for export and local use,” Lochner has said.

The overall objective of the SEA is to develop an integrated decision-making framework to guide planning of the proposed Boegoebaai port and SEZ, as well as in the wider Namakwa region, in a sustainable manner.

Some of the aspects that the assessment will cover include identifying the sensitivity of the receiving environment, potential fatal flaws that need to be addressed early in the planning process, strategic-level opportunities and constraints, and strategic management actions. The CSIR notes that the SEA does not replace the legal requirement for a project-level environmental-impact assessment.

“The CSIR has been instrumental in the introduction and evolution of SEAs in South Africa. Our competency in these assessments is widely recognised, and we are committed to provide independent, science-based information and advice into the decision-making process in a transparent manner,” he has said.

On May 23, the CSIR, the Northern Cape Economic Development Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, the South African National Energy Development Institute and the TNPA were joined by about 40 stakeholders representing nongovernment organisations, community-based organisations, government, academic research and the private sector to guide and inform best practice science-policy processes, and facilitate the co-production of knowledge content that will be used to inform decision-making for sustainable development in the Northern Cape.  

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
None stated.

Contact Details for Project Information
TNPA, tel +27 11 351 9001.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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