Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has already invested R2-billion to replace ageing equipment during the 2020 calendar year in response to industry calls for equipment that will improve performance across its operations.
The investment included the acquisition of two mobile harbour cranes for the Port Elizabeth Container Terminal, which will largely benefit the automotive and the agricultural bulk sectors.
The East London Multi-Purpose Terminal is, meanwhile, set to receive four straddle carriers to better service the automotive sector, while a new tippler for the Saldanha Bulk Terminal will support growing bulk volumes attributed to mining activities in the country.
The Saldanha terminal’s mobile ship loaders are currently undergoing commissioning with the intention to contribute to operations by April.
The Richards Bay Bulk Terminal has been receiving excavators since 2018 with another five to arrive before the end of the 2020/21 financial year. The terminal will also receive a ship loader and a new conveyor belt that will unlock tippler capacity in the same financial year.
Commenting on the investment, TPT COO Velile Dube said the equipment was “at the centre of loading and unloading goods off a vessel in operation like ours”, which is around the clock and covers four major sectors, including containers, cars, bulk and breakbulk cargo.
Beyond responding to industry calls, TPT said that the morale of its employees could also be affected by the resources available to them to deliver.
“Considering the remarkable work employees deliver, despite ageing equipment, we can be confident of new performance records in the near future,” Dube added.
The procurement of 43 straddle carriers at Durban Container Terminal is currently in process and is set to arrive as the 2020/21 financial year takes off, marking a key investment considering the size of the operation and the varying industries it services, including the pulp and paper industry, retail and automotive.
With the terminal having had to boost its technical resources, review shift patterns and increase the number of gangs servicing calling vessels, the terminal’s turnaround plan has gained traction.
Four straddle carriers will sustain the Cape Town Container Terminal operations this year, which largely service the agricultural industry.
According to Dube, with the acquisition of listed assets came the exercise of mapping out a thorough maintenance plan that will ensure equipment availability to service operations at all times.
“An equipment boost means having employees on demand to run scheduled maintenance on equipment without any impact to running operations. This way, we are able to maximise value and this translates to efficiency.”
South Africa’s pursuit of an export–led growth strategy positions TPT as a fundamental player in facilitating trade, a message Dube says “underpins regular communication to company employees during engagement sessions”.