Nelson Mandela Bay waterfront plans in play
Transnet has moved to engage port industry players on its plans to develop the muchtouted waterfront, which has been considered for decades as just a pipe dream.
Be it transformation initiatives, business opportunities or proposals for investments, Port of Port Elizabeth bosses launched talks to solicit views on what many believe will be a game changer in the city’s oceans economy on Thursday.
Port of Port Elizabeth manager Rajesh Dana said development of the waterfront would commence later in 2019 and would be a pivotal platform to boost the province’s economy and transform the face of the port and the city.
The waterfront development is expected to be undertaken in a phased manner, starting small and then expanding in line with market demand.
Phase one of the waterfront development will take place on vacant land.
But Dana said the port would need to critically address, in support of meeting shareholders’ objectives, improving operating efficiencies, regional integration and optimising investment in the port system.
“We also want to position the Port of Port Elizabeth as the premier automotive hub.
“Its main focus will be on the automotive industry.
“We already have a jampacked automotive terminal and that speaks to the heart of our strategy, and that tells us that our strategy is working.”
Despite emissions issues with vehicles and bans imposed by the UK in 2018, the Port of Port Elizabeth managed to meet its budgeted target, mainly due to an increase in VW exports to Europe, Dana said.
The number of imported vehicles has declined due to slow domestic consumption.
“The 2019/2020 prospects for automotive volumes look promising in light of high volume forecast of VW exports.
“[Furthermore] Ford, in line with their multi-port strategy, has committed export of about 600 units a month from the Port of Port Elizabeth.”
Dana said port authorities were also in discussions with original equipment manufacturers in Gauteng to be their port of choice for exports.
Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) port engineer Theo Sethosa said capital expenditure (capex) by the port for 2018/2019 was largely underwhelming.
“The numbers speak for themselves because, as the TNPA, we are admittedly sitting at about 38%-39% in terms of our capex for the last financial year.
“Capex for the Port of Port Elizabeth , for the last year – we managed to spend about 70% of what we had planned.”
Sethosa said the inefficient capex required specific and inclusive ideas from port customers to address where improvements could be made – particularly in relation to infrastructure development.
“We should be sitting at 100%.
“But we have a strategy that talks to our capex programme.
“We have undertaken an extensive engagement process where we are meeting with our customers to understand how we can transform the Port of Port Elizabeth.
“This overall view has to include the views of the people of Nelson Mandela Bay and other partners.”