Richards Bay's newest asset, the Rio Tinto Alcan Alesa unloader, marks the start of its multi-billion rand equipment replacement programme.
ARRIVAL OF RICHARDS BAY SHIP UNLOADER SIGNALS START OF MULTI BILLION RAND EQUIPMENT REPLACEMENT PROGRAMME
Port operator Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has earmarked the biggest slice of its R33 billion budget over the next seven years for new equipment acquisition projects at Richards Bay, the country's largest bulk export facility.
The last week of July will see the arrival of one of the terminal's largest assets, a custom-built pneumatic ship unloader produced by Swiss shipping manufacturer, Rio Tinto Alcan (RTA) Alesa Engineering Ltd.
The unloader is only the seventh of its kind in the world and its arrival signals the start of the Richards Bay Terminal's ambitious R3 billion equipment replacement programme to improve capacity, equipment reliability and service delivery. This will better enable the terminal to yield maximum results by meeting the needs its customers.
This machine will be able to unload alumina and petcoke from vessels and will facilitate a homogeneous and dust reduced material flow. It has the capacity to unload 1000 tons per hour by design, making it a valuable acquisition in improving the terminal's operational efficiency.
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."
The R3 billion earmarked for equipment replacement in Richards Bay falls within a total of R12.1 billion allocated for the plant over seven years.
Says TPT's Richards Bay Terminal Head, Victor Mkhize, "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," he added.
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.
Commenting on the seven year capital investment programme, TPT Chief Executive Karl Socikwa says: "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," he said.
TPT has prioritised major MDS projects to be embarked on in Richards Bay over the next seven years which include:
• R3.7 billion on capital sustaining investments including mobile equipment, quayside equipment and weighbridges. Also included are safety critical projects as well as environmental and legal compliance projects.
• Approximately R1.2 billion to be spent on capacity creation, such as new or upgraded storage areas and re-engineering of the port to create additional capacity.
About Transnet Port Terminals:
Transnet Port Terminals is a division of Transnet SOC Limited, South Africa's state-owned freight transport and handling company.
It provides efficient and reliable cargo-handling services at terminals situated across seven South African ports - Durban, Richards Bay, Cape Town, Saldanha, Port Elizabeth, Ngqura and East London. TPT customers include shipping lines, freight forwarders and cargo owners.
Operations cover import and export operations across the following cargo sectors: Containers, Mineral Bulk and the Agricultural Bulk and RoRo Sector.
Karl Socikwa is the Chief Executive. The company has a staff complement of over 6000.
For information, visit www.transnetportterminals.net