An artist’s impression of the oil-tanking terminal in Port Elizabeth.
Durban - Bidvest Tank Terminals, a unit of the Bidvest Group, has partnered with international logistics specialist Petredec to develop a R1billion 22600-ton capacity liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) facility at the Port of Richards Bay.

The new terminal will allow for a significant increase in the supply of LPG to South Africa - the fuel of the future in certain respects.

Apart from catering for South Africa’s requirements, the terminal will allow for exports to neighbouring countries.

Until now the country’s use of LPG has been relatively low because of a constrained domestic supply, allied to the lack of sufficient import and storage capacity.

Together with another storage plant under development at Coega near the Port of Ngqura, in which Durban-based company Grindrod has a stake, South Africa’s storage capacity is set to be addressed.

According to Petredec director Lee Furby, the lack of suitable storage has meant that Petredec’s ships which trade, transport, store and distribute LPG have frequently been forced to remain on layby outside Richards Bay harbour for weeks and months, while incurring costs.

“There will be huge efficiencies when the Richards Bay terminal opens, not only for us, but also for the end users,” he said.

The demand for LPG in South Africa is around 400000 tons annually, but with access to the new import and storage facilities this is expected to increase this by 200000 tons a year.

“An increased LPG supply will result in the fuel becoming a significant alternative to South Africa’s current energy supply, with little additional infrastructure required,” said Bidfreight Tank Terminal’s managing director David Leisegang.

The storage facility will consist of four 5650-ton tanks surrounded by a concrete case. The tanks are being made in China and are expected to be completed in April 2019, with the facility becoming operational in 2020.

Petredec operates with more than 30 owned ships plus in excess of 60 on time charter at any one time, and is one of the world’s largest ship owners and charterers of LPG vessels. The company supplies most of South Africa’s imported LPG requirements.

In Coega near Port Elizabeth phase one involving the infrastructure to service the new liquid bulk-terminal at the port of Ngqura has been completed.

This includes a new road access from the N2 to the location of the terminal where Oil Tanking Grindrod Calulo Holdings (OTGC), the private terminal operator, is to build the new tank-farm.

The Transnet National Ports Authority intends establishing the Port of Ngqura as an additional petroleum trading hub for Southern Africa and will provide infrastructure for the new tank-farm by equipping Berth B100 opposite the container terminal to function as a liquid bulk-berth.

The terminal is being developed on the basis of a build, operate and transfer (BOOT) agreement in which OTGC will plan, fund, construct, maintain and operate the new liquid bulk-handling facility in the port.

The Mercury