Cranes lift harbour prospects

Yolandé Stander

THE Port Elizabeth Harbour’s container handling capability received a major boost with the delivery of two multimillion rand ship-to-shore cranes yesterday.

The development follows both the city harbour and the Port of Ngqura’s container terminals having broken records last month – proving that local ports have major investment opportunities.

The cranes, which were manufactured and originally assembled in Durban and commissioned in late 2005, will be used to move 6m to 12m containers.

Transnet Port Terminals Eastern Cape general manager Siya Mhlaluka said the relocation of the cranes to Port Elizabeth was part of Transnet’s “ambitious programme to boost handling operations” at its ports throughout the country.

“At just seven years old these two cranes are still very new in terms of service and will serve as major assets for cargo operations in the Eastern Cape.

“Durban, in turn, has received several multimillion rand crane investments as part of Transnet’s market demand strategy,” Mhlaluka said.

The cranes arrived fully assembled in Port Elizabeth on board the Chinese heavy-lift vessel Zhen Hua 27 and will be commissioned later this month.

They will further boost capacity. The Ngqura container terminal has already achieved an increase of 66% in its container handling rate since opening in 2009, while the city container terminal showed a 27% improvement in its average performance during the same period.

Mhlaluka said the province was poised to benefit from several multimillion rand port investments in the next few years.

These would be made through the government’s renewed focus on growing the regional economy as well as Transnet’s R300-billion market demand strategy.

A total of R33-billion will be invested in all ports between 2012 and 2019.

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