R542m boost for EL

R108m port up­grade brings to­tal Transnet in­vest­ment to half-a-bil­lion

Go! & Express - - Front Page -

TRANSNET re­cently com­pleted a R108-mil­lion re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of sheet pile wharf sit­u­ated ad­ja­cent to the dry dock at the Port of East Lon­don, there­fore cre­at­ing jobs for the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

Sev­eral ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture and equip­ment projects at the Port of East Lon­don have seen Transnet pump a col­lec­tive R542-mil­lion into South Africa’s only river port in the last few years.

The 83m wharf sits ad­ja­cent to the Princess El­iz­a­beth Dry Dock and La­timer’s Land­ing. With mul­ti­ple func­tions, in­clud­ing use as a ship re­pair fa­cil­ity and for berthing small craft, the wharf will sup­port the port’s Op­er­a­tion Phak­isa am­bi­tions fo­cus­ing on marine trans­port and man­u­fac­tur­ing.

Act­ing port man­ager, Alvin Singama, said this was one of sev­eral projects aimed at re­fur­bish­ing and mod­ernising the port’s in­fra­struc­ture to sus­tain ex­ist­ing busi­ness and cargo, while si­mul­ta­ne­ously po­si­tion­ing for fu­ture growth.

“The port is gear­ing up to fur­ther en­hance its ca­pac­ity with an ex­pan­sion of its au­to­mo­tive fa­cil­i­ties and the up­grade of mar­itime en­gi­neer­ing of­fer­ings in line with Op­er­a­tion Phak­isa,” Singama said. Con­struc­tion con­trac­tor Haw & Inglis sourced labour and ma­te­rial lo­cally in line with Transnet’s sup­plier de­vel­op­ment re­quire­ments, while pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tions, en­gi­neer­ing de­sign and site su­per­vi­sion were un­der­taken by the East Lon­don Aure­con of­fice.

Other in­vest­ments al­ready com­pleted at the port ear­lier this year, in­clude the R176-mil­lion West Bank Fore­shore pro­tec­tion project. This en­tailed the con­struc­tion of a revet­ment to pro­tect the port’s fore­shore and rail in­fra­struc­ture from ero­sion and dam­age caused by rough seas and wave ac­tion.

Op­er­a­tion Phak­isa is a pro­gramme in­tro­duced by the South African gov­ern­ment to un­lock the eco­nomic po­ten­tial of the coun­try’s oceans. In East Lon­don it in­cludes re­fur­bish­ment of the dry dock at a to­tal cost of R219-mil­lion to sup­port ship re­pair and marine man­u­fac­tur­ing.

“The to­tal dry dock re­fur­bish­ment project is ex­pected to be com­pleted in 2021, with new switchgear and crane rails al­ready com­pleted. The ini­tia­tive to es­tab­lish a boat-build­ing clus­ter at the port has how­ever been neg­a­tively im­pacted by the world­wide eco­nomic slow­down. Nev­er­the­less, there is still po­ten­tial to grow vol­umes and ex­pand busi­ness in the port, which will have a pos­i­tive so­cio-eco­nomic im­pact on the city,” Singama said.

The port’s tanker berth fire pro­tec­tion sys­tem is also be­ing up­graded, while port se­cu­rity has seen an in­vest­ment of R92-mil­lion to date, with fur­ther in­vest­ments on sur­veil­lance equip­ment un­der way.

The port is also re­plac­ing its rail net­work and re­fur­bish­ing the Buf­falo Bridge.

Deep­en­ing and widen­ing of the port’s en­trance chan­nel is still in pre-fea­si­bil­ity stage, with Transnet Na­tional Ports Au­thor­ity (TNPA) ex­plor­ing var­i­ous de­signs and lay­outs based on mod­el­ling and com­pleted sim­u­la­tions of ves­sel ma­noeu­vring.

Fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies for the La­timer’s Land­ing jetty project have been com­pleted and are await­ing fi­nal­i­sa­tion of ap­proval by the East­ern Cape Her­itage Re­source Agency.

“We are proud to be mak­ing progress with sev­eral on­go­ing in­vest­ments that demon­strate our com­mit­ment to the lo­cal busi­ness com­mu­nity, de­spite a chal­leng­ing eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment. The Port of East Lon­don con­tin­ues to ac­tively ex­plore new mar­kets to broaden its cus­tomer base and to di­ver­sify its cargo through­puts,” Singama said.

A re­port in the GO! & Ex­press’ sis­ter news­pa­per the Daily Dis­patch last month, stated that the port was in line for an ex­pan­sion of its au­to­mo­tive ter­mi­nal, as well as mar­itime en­gi­neer­ing and mar­itime com­mer­cial ac­tiv­i­ties

Fac­ing an ex­pected de­mand in the au­to­mo­tive sec­tor, the TNPA’s short-term plan will see 1000 ad­di­tional park­ing bays be­ing built by 2022.

Pic­ture: AN­DRE OOSTHUIZEN

MIS­SION AC­COM­PLISHED: A R108-mil­lion up­grad­ing project to the sheet pile wharf at East Lon­don har­bour, has re­cently been com­pleted, which will not only bring in much-needed busi­ness to the city but also ben­e­fit the whole re­gion

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