Monday, February 27, 2012

Investment Promised for Container Port After Freight Throughput Disrupted

South African Government Pledges to Improve Transport Infrastructure
Shipping News Feature

SOUTH AFRICA – Following reports of disruptions to the throughput of freight in January due to industrial action at the Durban Container Terminal’s (DCT) Pier 2 and the subsequent declaration of Force Majeure, operator Transnet Port Terminals has been keen to emphasise its plans to revitalise the country’s most prolific container port with what it terms ‘an aggressive and focused recovery plan’.

Transnet concede that there are bottlenecks and operational problems and although gross crane moves per hour have improved to an average of twenty two following the introduction of a new NAVIS terminal management system from the previous level of eighteen the intended target of twenty eight moves per hour still hadn’t been obtained as yet. Hector Danisa, the Terminal Executive Manager for Durban Container Terminals, commented:

“Most of the productivity issues and downtime in 2011 related to technical issues following the national rollout of the new NAVIS Sparcs N4 terminal operating system, with which Transnet was the first worldwide to operate multiple marine and rail terminals from a central server.

“TPT initially worked closely with the NAVIS software manufacturers to iron out the issues, and then set out to introduce a recovery plan to industry and other stakeholders last year. This plan was aimed at stabilising the terminal from August 2011 and growing the business thereafter by encouraging improvement in key areas such human capital, equipment and planning.”

Last month a Government spokesman confirmed there are plans to invest £1.75 billion over the next seven years in expanding the infrastructure at the port which handles up to two and a half million TEU per annum at present, whilst capable of handling 50% more, making it the largest box terminal in the Southern Hemisphere.

Meanwhile the Port of Ngqura which was trumpeted as potentially being a major force in container handling with capacity due to increase to 1.5 million TEU by 2015 is currently believed to be handling only around a third of that with future spending concentrating on investment into the transfer of bulk manganese shipments.