Wasaa to upgrade newly acquired East London Terminal capacity

26th May 2022 By: Schalk Burger - Creamer Media Senior Contributing Editor

Local black women-owned and managed petrochemicals company Wasaa has completed the acquisition and handover of the East London liquid fuel import terminal from energy multinational BP Southern Africa (BPSA).

The company's subsidiary Wasaa Terminals will upgrade and increase capacity of the terminal. Investment projects have been identified to reduce bottlenecks at the terminal, as well as potentially to reduce bottlenecks at the port, said Wasaa Group CE Nokwanele Qonde.

"Our operations do not extend to the port, but we are collaborating with the Department of Transport to work towards this," she said during the handover ceremony on May 26.

Wasaa Terminals acquired 100% of the terminal’s movable assets and a 20% stake in the berth to terminal pipeline.

The deal will significantly entrench Wasaa’s position as an emerging commodity trader in the region and forms part of BPSA’s long-standing commitment and efforts to support transformation in the energy sector, said BPSA CEO Taelo Mojapelo.

"For us, this is a game-changer and significantly scales up Wasaa Terminals, and opens further opportunities for us and other women in the industry," said Qonde.

Wasaa Group has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Mozambique State-owned oil and gas company Petromoc to upgrade and operate the utility’s liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage facilities in Mozambique.

Following the four-month handover, Wasaa will immediately start upgrading the East London terminal and pursue other projects that are attractive for it, such as developing an LPG facility.

The terminal has an LPG vessel that could be used for storage, which the company aims to upgrade and bring into operation, she highlighted.

These are mainly short-term projects that the company is looking at and it has longer-term projects that it is looking to pursue as it grows, she added.

"Few companies, and very few black economic empowered companies if any, have access to infrastructure to import [petrochemicals and fuel] products into the country. We can provide other black-economic empowerment companies with access to open facilities, such as ours, in which they can become tenants and bring in products," said Qonde.

"South Africa is a net importer of these products and we hope to be a platform through this terminal not only to grow ourselves as Wasaa, but to open opportunities for other black economic empowered companies to achieve bigger things than we have by growing and transforming the industry," she added.

The long-term commercial contract entered into provides synergies for Wasaa Terminals and BPSA. The company has retained operations of its transport business operating out of East London, while Wasaa Terminals will provide terminal storage and handling services to it.

Wasaa will also provide aggregation services to other black economic empowered companies, Mojapelo confirmed.

"South Africa’s terminal landscape is evolving and there is growing participation from new market entrants keen to make their mark in the industry, including integrated traders and independent logistics operators.

“This infrastructure transaction is an important contribution by BPSA towards the country’s efforts of empowering black- and women-owned entrepreneurs in the energy sector. As we hand over the reins, we continue to support Wasaa to help them get up to speed and ensure a seamless transition which is necessary for future success,” said Mojapelo.

"The deal fits snugly with [Wasaa's] strategic objectives of being a leading provider in logistics, gases, trading, chemicals and commodities in sub-Saharan Africa and beyond. We firmly believe that this historic transaction will deepen transformation in the petrochemicals industry and serve as a catalyst for meaningful women participation in the industry,” said Qonde.