Transnet has allayed concerns that could have been raised among manganese exporters over its delay in moving the shipment of manganese ore from Port Elizabeth port to the port of Ngqura, saying it would find space at other ports.
Transnet announced last week during its stakeholder engagements on ports development around the country that it would start shipping manganese from Ngqura port, outside Port Elizabeth, in 2019 as opposed to the initial 2016 plan.
Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) spokes-woman Lunga Ngcobo said the relocation was a complex project involving various disciplines. Its pre-feasibility and feasibility phases had been delayed by six months due to governance processes. But, she said, the plan had always been to complete the project by August 2018.
TNPA planning and development manager Desmond Simpson said yesterday that the tank farm storing liquid bulk at the Port Elizabeth port would also be relocated to Ngqura. This would happen before 2019.
The manganese terminal in Port Elizabeth has installed capacity of 5.5 million tons a year although it has a design capacity of 6 million tons a year.
Last year the port handled about 5.4 million tons of manganese and it was expected to handle about 5.5 million tons this year. This meant that Port Elizabeth would reach full capacity this year.
But Ngcobo said alternatives adopted by Transnet, such as exporting manganese in skiptainers through the container terminal and in full containers through Ngqura and Port Elizabeth, would ensure there was capacity for volume growth.
Anticipated throughput using skiptainers in Port Elizabeth for this financial year was 700 000 tons at the multi-purpose terminal and just over 1 million tons at the container terminal. Ngcobo said the port of Durban also exported an estimated 1 million tons of manganese in bulk.
“Everybody who can find an opportunity, all around South Africa, to export manganese from Richards Bay, out of Durban in containers, skiptainers, all ports that can, are doing so,” Simpson said yesterday.