New move in tank farm saga

Agreement on liquid bulk facility at Ngqura paves way for waterfront

GRINDROD Calulo Holdings (OTGC) has signed an agreement with the Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA) which promises to boost the long-awaited waterfront development at the Port Elizabeth Harbour and see the tank farm removed at last.

OTGC will install, own and operate a new liquid bulk handling facility at the Port of Ngqura.

The consortium signed an agreement with the principal stakeholder in the project, TNPA, on Thursday night.

The agreement paves the way for the long-mooted waterfront development and the removal of the existing bulk liquid facility, commonly referred to as the tank farm, at the Port Elizabeth Harbour.

The tank farm and the manganese shipment operation in the harbour have been considered the main stumbling blocks for the development of a waterfront precinct which is expected to be a significant catalyst for the growth of tourism and other economic activities in the Nelson Mandela Bay region.

The massive new bulk liquid facility, which will fall within the Coega region, is expected to be commissioned in 2019. The existing tank farm can then be decommissioned. The area will then undergo rehabilitation before any development there can begin.

Besides the unlocking of what is believed to be massive economic and employment potential in the Port Elizabeth Harbour, the establishment of the new bulk liquid facility is expected to be an economic game-changer for the region where TNPA is working to establish the Port of Ngqura as an international trans-shipment hub.

Importantly, as a bulk liquid hub, the new facility is expected to dramatically strengthen South Africa’s energy security.

Dignitaries at the signing ceremony included Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism MEC Sakhumzi Somyo, Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip, executive chairman of Calulo Investments’ board Mkhuseli Faku and TNPA chief financial officer Mohammed Abdool.

Trollip said global competitiveness was rapidly evolving to competitiveness between cities rather than between countries and that both developments – the unlocking of potential at the Port Elizabeth Harbour and the new bulk facility – would significantly enhance the Bay’s existing competitive advantages.

Somyo heralded the role played by Faku, who hails from Port Elizabeth, and said the new facility would play an important role in strengthening the country’s energy security while playing an equally important role in growing the regional economy.

The first phase of the facility will provide about 150 000 cubic metres storage capacity for refined petroleum products, and will replace the tanks currently in use in the Port Elizabeth Harbour. Future phases will increase the facility’s storage capacity.

The facility will service the country’s major oil companies, new entrants into the oil industry and international traders.

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