In addition to the “reimagined” operational model that was introduced by the Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA) in November of the previous year and the increased efficiency initiatives that are currently being implemented, the state-owned utility has announced that it will spend R9.1 billion over the course of the next seven years on capital projects in the ports located in the Central Region.
Ngqura, Gqeberha, and East London are the cities that make up the Central Region ports.
The Nelson Mandela Bay port, which is comprised of the ports of Ngqura and Gqeberha, will receive an R4.8-billion share of the seven-year capital allocation. On the other hand, the East London port will receive R4.3-billion.
TNPA has, since the launch of its new operational model, been appointing new general managers to oversee various aspects of the business, improving terminal oversight, addressing backlogs as best it can, and introducing automated systems, amongst other efforts. These general managers are responsible for improving terminal oversight, addressing backlogs as best it can, and introducing automated systems.
The utility company had done some soul-searching, which resulted in an urgent review of its operations. During this review, the company discovered a number of problems, such as unsatisfied customers, declining port efficiency, performance, and volumes, high costs of doing business, failure to deliver capital projects on time, ageing fleet and infrastructure, and bureaucratic internal processes.
TNPA has decided to take a rigorous approach to the implementation of its capital projects beginning in the 2022–2023 fiscal year. As a result, the ports in the Central Region will invest R570 million on the development of port infrastructure during this time period.
Notably, the TNPA will release a request for information (RFI) in July about the capacity for renewable energy at the ports. This will be followed by a request for offers (RFP) by September, which will be based on a power purchase agreement.
In addition, the ports authority will submit a request for information (RFI) in July for all ports to supply desalinated water, and a request for proposals (RFP) will be issued by October on the basis of a water purchase agreement.
This is a solution to the water crisis that inhabitants of Gqeberha encountered when flash floods affected sections of the province, as well as KwaZulu-Natal, in April of this year, and it is also a preventative step for any future water-related emergencies that may arise.
More important projects scheduled for the current year include conducting a feasibility study for the reconstruction of East London’s Quay 3, moving the tank farm from Gqeberha to Ngqura, building a slipway at the Port of Gqeberha, relocating the tank farm from Gqeberha to Ngqura, and developing Phase 1 of the Manganese Export Terminal in Ngqura. All of these projects are scheduled to take place in Ngqura.
According to TNPA central region managing executive Siyabulela Mhlaluka, “We have targeted the Port of Gqeberha for the automotive industry, while Ngqura is being positioned as a transshipment and energy centre for the southern hemisphere.” This statement was made in reference to the Port of Gqeberha.
He goes on to say that Gqeberha is going to be positioned as a leisure and recreational port, and it will receive help in this respect. Ngqura, on the other hand, is going to see an increased focus on energy activities such as liquefied natural gas. East London will see an expansion of its liquid bulk activities and will have a greater emphasis on providing services for the agricultural sector.
TNPA has also recognised the need to realise additional value from its assets, such as real estate, and it plans on moving into new revenue sources other from the usual ones in the near future. In this respect, it is working closely with its sister firm, Transnet Property, which maintains a portfolio of commercial and residential properties around the nation with a combined book value of R6.5 billion.
TNPA has requested that executives at ports come up with plans for the rehabilitation of assets owned by TNPA near the ports. In other instances, TNPA will be destroying properties and starting new construction from the ground up on such locations.
According to Mhlaluka, the TNPA’s capital investment programme and strategy reflect a renewed emphasis on assuring fulfilment of its purpose to enhance the South African ports and become a catalyst for economic progress.
Through the establishment of regional and national capital investment war rooms, where project sponsor engagement is relevant and influential in enabling the project team, we are continuously creating an environment that is enabling and performance-driven, which unlocks bottlenecks and accelerates the execution of strategic projects.
“By using this strategy, TNPA will be able to fulfil its promises to the area regarding its capital investment projects.”