Transnet beats bad weather at two ports thanks to new equipment

The Port of Durban. File picture: Leon Lestrade Independent Newspapers

The Port of Durban. File picture: Leon Lestrade Independent Newspapers

Published Feb 13, 2024


Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) will now be able to offload shipping containers at two of its ports in spite of inclement weather conditions after taking delivery of four hydraulic tension mooring units.

TNPA yesterday said that the first batch of four hydraulic tension mooring units had been delivered and operationalised at the ports of Cape Town and Ngqura as part of the 52 units procured in the second half of 2023.

In September last year, TNPA appointed Netherlands-headquartered Shore Tension for the supply of 52 additional hydraulic tension mooring units in a bid to improve operational efficiencies at the ports, reduce shipping delays caused by inclement weather conditions, and improve vessel turnaround time.

This comes as TNPA suffered huge backlogs during the crunch time festive season, with vessels stuck outside the ports due to offloading delays caused by bad weather conditions and inadequate handling equipment.

A hydraulic tension mooring unit is a system that is placed on the quayside to ensure the safety of vessels alongside and mitigate the severity of long-wave effects on vessels.

The units assist with stabilising vessels alongside during strong winds, adverse weather conditions and high swells, minimising down time and safety during operations.

TNPA general manager for infrastructure Thecla Mneney said the new mooring units would increase TNPA’s capacity to prevent excessive surge motions of vessels alongside, bringing the total number of units to six at the Port of Cape Town and four at the Port of Ngqura.

Mneney said the supply of additional units also marked TNPA’s commitment to make key investments in port infrastructure.

“This marks the first of a series of major port equipment deliveries at our commercial seaports this year,” Mneney said.

“We continue to make progress in fast-tracking the implementation of key investments in port infrastructure to improve operational efficiencies and provide quality service to the maritime industry.”

TNPA has procured 52 shore tension units with an allocation of 16 units for the Port of Cape Town, 14 for the Port of Durban, eight for the Port of Port Elizabeth, six for the Port of Ngqura, four for the Port of Saldanha and four for the Port of Richards Bay.

The phased delivery of the rest of the 48 units will be completed by early 2025.

Meanwhile, the Durban Container Terminal (DCT) Pier 2 has maintained single-digit numbers of vessels at anchor, having increased operational teams to 11 per shift on the waterside handling.

The combination of employee allocations and evacuation of import containers averaging 35 wagons daily, via rail to back-of-port facilities, has also enabled fluidity on the landside handling.

At the height of the vessel backlog in November, DCT Pier 2 had 43 491 import containers waiting at anchor, and has since reduced that number to 1 738.

Durban Terminals managing director Earle Peters on Friday said the interventions had resulted in significant improvements and considerable decongestion of the terminal.

Peters also said there were ongoing positive engagements with shipping lines and transporters.

“We have benefited greatly from continuously engaging with our customers and partners and heeding their feedback. The transparency is creating a win-win solution,” he said.

Terminal management will soon embark on deliberate customer visits, as part of planning for the 2024/2025 financial year and reviewing what worked well during the November setback that delayed the offloading of import containers for extended periods.