Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has prepared for a 13% increase in citrus volumes this year, with new equipment being set up to boost operations at the Port Elizabeth, Durban and Ngqura container terminals.
This follows the Citrus Growers Association’s forecast that new orchards coming into production and good rains across some regions would bode well for citrus harvests.
South Africa ranks sixteenth in terms of world fruit production. Fruit accounts for more than 50% of the country’s overall agricultural exports, which means a contribution of about R43-billion a year to South Africa’s gross domestic product.
TPT says season preparations require sufficient plug points across all container terminals, as well as human capital.
“We have made provision for additional plug points to ensure reefer handling, leasing generator packs as back-up in some areas of the business,” says TPT sales and new business development GM Siyabulela Mhlaluka.
Earlier constraints resulted in the container terminals across TPT operating at an average 75% capacity.
The available numbers were impacted on by a number of employees with chronic medical conditions, compromised immune systems and those that were 60 years and above, in line with the special measures implemented arising from the government regulations amid Covid-19.
Two new mobile harbour cranes at the port in Port Elizabeth have been commissioned and handed over to operations. Equally, Durban Container Terminal (DCT) Pier 2 would have taken delivery of 23 of its 45 new straddle carriers from the end of July.
“Regular industry engagements and integrated planning leaves us optimistic. The guided levels of operation over Level 5 cannot be isolated. Over a two-month period, the Level 5 lockdown regulations restricted the movement of cargo,” says Mhlaluka, adding that it was now all systems go.
The current R2-billion investment in replacement equipment will see an additional four rubber-tyred gantry cranes for Cape Town’s port arriving in November.
Twenty-two additional straddle carriers will be delivered to DCT Pier 2 in December and two rubber-tyred gantry cranes for DCT Pier 1 in the same period.
“We have a robust plan for replacing equipment across our terminals through to 2024 and as we have promised to industry, we are tracking according to plan”.