Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Port Company Invests in Bulk Cargo Handling Assets - and the Lives of Children

More to South African Group than Bulk Freight and Logistics
Shipping News Feature

SOUTH AFRICA - Port operator Transnet Port Terminals (TPT), a division of freight and logistics chain Transnet, has reserved R12.1 billion of its R33 billion budget over the next seven years for new equipment acquisition projects at Richards Bay, the country’s largest bulk and break bulk export facility and formerly the biggest global export coal terminal. One of the facilities major cargo handling assets is to be a custom-built pneumatic ship unloader, only the seventh of its kind in the world, produced by Swiss manufacturer, Rio Tinto Alcan (RTA) Alesa Engineering Ltd which will arrive at the end of the month.

The new ship discharger will commence the R3 billion equipment replacement programme to improve capacity, equipment reliability and service delivery at Richards Bay Terminal. The machine will be able to unload alumina and petcoke and will facilitate a uniform dust reduced material flow. It has the capacity to unload 1000 tonnes per hour making it a valuable acquisition in improving the terminal’s operational efficiency. TPT’s Richards Bay Terminal Head, Victor Mkhize said:

“This investment in Richards Bay shows TPT’s sound commitment to the terminal and will make a remarkable difference in enabling the plant to achieve improved operating efficiencies and deliver on customer expectations. A number of tasks will be executed when the new unloader arrives. This includes assembling, operator training, endurance testing, hot and cold commissioning and handover. This is an historic moment for TPT and an important milestone we can be proud of.”

TPT client BHP Billiton Aluminium SA expressed its commitment to working with its long-standing partner TPT to ensure the success of the newly acquired pneumatic unloader. Lucas Msimanga, Asset President of BHP Billiton Aluminium SA, said:

“We would like to take the opportunity of thanking and congratulating TPT for providing this essential equipment. As BHP Billiton Aluminium SA, we feel this clearly demonstrates TPT’s commitment to improving operations and delivery of a high quality service to its partners. The offloader will significantly improve the efficiency of BHP Billiton’s operation and will undoubtedly make a positive impact in reducing spillages.”

Transnet SOC Ltd’s Market Demand Strategy (MDS) will see the company invest in excess of R300 billion on capital projects over a seven-year period aimed at building freight capacity to support South Africa’s economic growth. TPT Chief Executive Karl Socikwa commented:

“The MDS has major implications for our division’s responsibility to facilitate unconstrained growth, unlock demand and create world-class port operations through improved efficiencies, Acquiring the unloader in Richards Bay is certainly a significant step towards us achieving our MDS objectives and huge thanks must go to the project team for many months of intensive work involved in getting us to this milestone.”

Another division of Transnet will help save thousands of lives with just over R 3.9 million in critical funding over the next three years for the National Sea Rescue Institute’s (NSRI) WaterWise Academy, a water safety programme. Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has decided to fund six of the NSRI’s WaterWise Academy Instructors around South Africa. NSRI CEO, Ian Wienburg said:

“The WaterWise Academy is a world first in that it advocates peer-rescue. Whilst there are many good learn to swim projects around the world, the NSRI’s WaterWise project trains our children to be mini-rescuers. We have taken the Sea Rescue syllabus and scoped it down to be age appropriate for children.

“Those most likely to drown, according to the South African Medical Research Council, are children between the ages of 9 and 14 from poor and rural communities. For practical reasons these children often do not swim under adult supervision and are therefore at risk. They need to understand what to do in an emergency, who to call for help, how to rescue their peers and keep them alive by doing basic bystander CPR until an ambulance arrives.”

According to the Medical Research Council, over the past five years, 3 000 deaths by drowning were recorded, Netcare 911 also revealed that drowning is one of the leading causes of unnatural death among children in South Africa. TNPA’s social responsibility considers the prevention and protection of all South African water users vitally important. Tau Morwe, Chief Executive of TNPA said.

“The NSRI has been providing a vital humanitarian rescue service since 1967 and TNPA has been a key partner in their success. This project, which proactively considers safety of water users, takes the relationship to new heights and will no doubt be instrumental in saving lives.

“Our biggest asset is human life and it is our families and communities we look to protect the most. We believe that by helping organisations such as NSRI to continue to teach water safety and survival skills, all South Africans, especially children from disadvantaged and rural backgrounds, can enjoy the water, safely.”

The NSRI is manned by 980 dedicated volunteers around the country at 32 coastal rescue stations and three inland rescue stations. NSRI urges all adults and children to take the relevant precautions by swimming only at beaches where lifeguards are on duty.

Photo: Richards Bay’s newest asset, the Rio Tinto Alcan Alesa unloader, marks the start of its multi-billion rand equipment replacement programme.