Transnet’s ports tug at triple chal­lenges

Are tug­ging at triple chal­lenge

Public Sector Manager - - Contents -

The Rad­i­cal Port Re­form pro­gramme has rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion as its goal

Transnet's Rad­i­cal Port Re­form pro­gramme has rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion as its goal.As part of the Oceans Econ­omy Phak­isa, Transnet has sev­eral ini­tia­tives un­der way. One of these is a pro­gramme for the lo­cal con­struc­tion of tug boats.

The Transnet Na­tional Port Au­thor­ity (TNPA) launched the Um­bilo tug at an of­fi­cial cer­e­mony held at South­ern African Ship­yards in Dur­ban in May 2017. Um­bilo will be based in the Port of Dur­ban.

Um­bilo is a prod­uct of the R1.4 bil­lion tug-build­ing con­tract that the TNPA awarded to Dur­ban-based South­ern African Ship­yards. This is the largest con­tract ever awarded to a South African com­pany for the pro­duc­tion of har­bour craft.

Um­bilo is the sixth tug to roll off the South African Ship­yards' pro­duc­tion line in Dur­ban. The seventh of the nine tugs on or­der is al­ready un­der con­struc­tion and will also be used in the Port of Dur­ban.

Im­proved ser­vice

Speak­ing at the launch, TNPA Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Richard Val­lihu said a new tug is ex­actly what the Port of Dur­ban needs. “Over the past few years, the Port of Dur­ban has seen larger ves­sels call­ing. This has put a strain on our ma­rine fleet. Cur­rently, the port has a to­tal of eight tugs of which four are old shut­tle tugs with only 32-ton and 38-ton bol­lard pull power. As a re­sult, the port has been de­ploy­ing a five-tug op­er­a­tion to help guide ves­sels into port in­stead of the six-tug op­er­a­tion re­quired to meet world stan­dards,” said Val­lihu.

He ex­plained that hav­ing a new and a pow­er­ful tug in the port would ease pres­sure on the port's ma­rine op­er­a­tions, speed up turn­around times and re­duce the cost of do­ing busi­ness.

Each of the new tugs will be 31 me­tres long with a 70-ton bol­lard pull, which refers to a boat's tow­ing power. They have the lat­est global tech­nol­ogy such as Voith Sch­nei­der propul­sion which makes them highly ma­noeu­vrable.

The five other tugs have been de­liv­ered to the ports of Port El­iz­a­beth, Sal­danha and Richards Bay.

Train­ing and skills devel­op­ment

Ad­dress­ing unem­ploy­ment is one of the rea­sons for build­ing the tugs lo­cally, says Val­lihu.The TNPA tug pro-

cure­ment project also com­ple­ments the TNPA's Mar­itime School of Ex­cel­lence skills devel­op­ment pro­gramme.

“It was es­sen­tial to have well-trained peo­ple in place to sup­port Transnet's ma­jor drive to ramp up in­fra­struc­ture and ef­fi­ciency at South Africa's ports. Transnet has set aside a record-break­ing R7.7 bil­lion for train­ing over the next 10 years. This will al­low us to con­tinue with our skills devel­op­ment drive fo­cus­ing on young South Africans, whom we are de­vel­op­ing in var­i­ous as­pects of port and ma­rine op­er­a­tions. These in­clude the Tug Master who will one day op­er­ate this brand new fleet of tugs and ma­rine en­gi­neers who will be tasked with en­sur­ing that the plant within these tugs per­forms to op­ti­mal ef­fi­ciency,” he said.

Val­lihu said the Port Au­thor­ity would con­trib­ute over R56 bil­lion of cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture un­der Transnet's rolling R300 bil­lion-plus Mar­ket De­mand Strat­egy (MDS) which is now in its fifth year.

The nine tugs are be­ing built for the TNPA over three­and-a-half years, as part of a wider fleet re­place­ment pro­gramme that also in­cludes new dredg­ing ves­sels and new ma­rine avi­a­tion he­li­copters.

Cre­at­ing tugs cre­ates jobs

Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of South­ern African Ship­yards Prasheen Ma­haraj said his com­pany had cre­ated 500 di­rect and 3 500 in­di­rect jobs through this project.

“We have also com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing that each tug has a min­i­mum of 60 per cent lo­cally man­u­fac­tured com­po­nents, while part­ner­ing with in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies on the re­main­ing as­pects that can­not be man­u­fac­tured here, for ex­am­ple the en­gines and propul­sion units,” he said.

Ma­haraj said the in­ten­tion was to max­imise lo­cal con­tent and spread the ben­e­fits of the project to black sup­pli­ers, and women- and youth-owned busi­nesses. “Ul­ti­mately South Africa will achieve a so­cioe­co­nomic ben­e­fit of more than R800 mil­lion as a re­sult of the Sup­plier Devel­op­ment Plan at­tached to the con­tract,” he said.

Val­lihu said the ac­qui­si­tion of Um­bilo and the next tug would be crit­i­cal to the port's drive to re­tain its po­si­tion as a mar­itime leader in Africa, es­pe­cially as it con­tin­ues to ser­vice big­ger com­mer­cial ves­sels more fre­quently.

“By open­ing up the oceans econ­omy and re­dis­tribut­ing the value propo­si­tion that the ports of­fer to a wider range of role play­ers and stake­hold­ers, our ports are play­ing an in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant role in ad­dress­ing the three scourges plagu­ing South Africa: unem­ploy­ment, poverty and in­equal­ity. This is what we have be­gun to term as Rad­i­cal Port Re­form, and we are pur­su­ing this as TNPA in var­i­ous ways,” said Val­lihu.

Mod­ern ports in a dig­i­tal age

Transnet is mod­ernising ports, rais­ing aware­ness of port ca­reers and busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties, and work­ing closely with var­i­ous mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to cre­ate the Smart Peo­ple's Port – a con­cept to make all port op­er­a­tions wire­less, Vallhi said.

“Moderni­sa­tion of our ports is an­other im­por­tant as­pect of Rad­i­cal Port Re­form. Here in the Port of Dur­ban, for ex­am­ple, we al­ready have nu­mer­ous projects un­der­way to widen, deepen and lengthen berths and im­prove other port in­fra­struc­ture so that we can bet­ter cater to the needs of the global mar­itime in­dus­try, with its ev­er­in­creas­ing size of vis­it­ing ves­sels.

“Which brings me to the rea­son that we are on the drive to mod­ernise not just fixed struc­tures, but also our equip­ment.The ports present a para­dox: you es­sen­tially have the same space to work with, but you need to be­come more ef­fi­cient to have greater through­put, cre­ate more jobs and have less con­ges­tion,” he said.

Dur­ban Con­tainer Ter­mi­nal to ex­pand

The Dur­ban Con­tainer Ter­mi­nal (DCT) is the big­gest and busiest in the south­ern hemi­sphere. It han­dles 64 per cent of the coun­try's seaborne con­tainer traf­fic. Transnet is im­ple­ment­ing an am­bi­tious ex­pan­sion project at the port and its con­tainer ter­mi­nals, com­pris­ing sev­eral in­di­vid­ual work pack­ages, to in­crease the DCT's con­tainer han­dling ca­pac­ity.

The main projects in­clude ex­pand­ing the DCT's Pier 1, which aims to in­crease the ca­pac­ity of the ter­mi­nal to 2.4 mil­lion 20 ft equiv­a­lent units (TEUs). This in­cludes the Sal­is­bury Is­land project, also known as the Pier 1 Phase 2 In­fill project.The TNPA also plans to deepen berths 203 to 205 at the DCT, which could raise the ca­pac­ity of Pier 2 from 2.4 mil­lion TEUs to 2.9 mil­lion.The berths will be deep­ened from 12.8 m to 16.5 m and length­ened from 914 m to

1 210 m to en­able the DCT to han­dle three 350 m ves­sels si­mul­ta­ne­ously. Con­struc­tion is ex­pected to be­gin in 2017 and be com­pleted in 2022.

The projects are ex­pected to in­crease the DCT's ca­pac­ity from 3.6 mil­lion TEUs to about 5.3 mil­lion. Con­tainer ca­pac­ity is also be­ing cre­ated at places, such as the Dur­ban Ro-Ro and May­don Wharf ter­mi­nals, by ac­quir­ing new equip­ment, in­clud­ing mo­bile cranes and var­i­ous in­fra­struc­ture up­grades. Transnet is also propos­ing the phased devel­op­ment of the so-called Dur­ban Dig-Out Port (DDOP) on the old Dur­ban In­ter­na­tional Air­port (DIA) site, among other projects.

Jobs to be cre­ated

The May­don Wharf in­fra­struc­ture up­grade has cre­ated 127 jobs, in­clud­ing gen­eral and semi­skilled work­ers, safety of­fi­cers and store peo­ple, as well as project man­agers. A skills devel­op­ment pro­gramme has trained 206 peo­ple in lift­ing and rig­ging, con­struc­tion, project man­age­ment and safety.The project forms part of Transnet's larger

R340 bil­lion to R380 bil­lion 10-year rolling mar­ket de­mand strat­egy.

ETHEKWINI Mu­nic­i­pal­ity Mayor Zandile Gumede said at the launch of Um­bilo that the city is grate­ful to be in­volved. “The fact that the project has cre­ated em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for 3 500 peo­ple, and most of them are women and youth, makes us happy.

“The city takes pride in the em­pow­er­ment of women. I just melted when I heard that the pi­lot for Um­bilo is an African woman. This is what we are talk­ing about when we [talk about] rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion and women's em­pow­er­ment, “she said.

From left, South­ern African Ship­yards CEO Prasheen Ma­haraj, TNPA Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Richard Val­lihu, eThekwini Mayor and Um­bilo Lady Spon­sor, Coun­cil­lor Zandile Gumede, Dur­ban Port Man­ager Moshe Mot­lohi and eThekwini City Man­ager Sipho Nzuza in front of the Port of

Dur­ban’s new Um­bilo tug be­fore its launch.

Writer: Hlengiwe Ngob­ese Pho­tog­ra­pher: Mot­shari Mo­fo­keng (Transnet Na­tional Ports Au­thor­ity)

(Im­age: Mar­itimeEx­ec­u­tive.com)

eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede ad­mires a model of the Um­bilo tug at the Port of Dur­ban, with the full-size tug in the back­ground.

The Dur­ban Con­tainer Ter­mi­nal is the big­gest and busiest in the south­ern hemi­sphere, han­dling 64 per cent of

South Africa’s seaborne con­tainer traf­fic.

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