Ngqura tank farm site preparation on track, says Transnet

An aerial view of the new tank farm site which is being prepared at the Port of Ngqura
GETTING THERE: An aerial view of the new tank farm site which is being prepared at the Port of Ngqura
Image: OTGC

Transnet National Ports Authority says it is forging ahead with the development of the new tank farm site at Ngqura.

Port of Ngqura manager Tandi Lebakeng said on Monday the project was going well.

“After turning the first sod for the new liquid bulk tank farm in the Port of Ngqura early last year, Transnet National Port Authority is on track with its part of the development.

“It is expected that the civil work at berth B100, which includes the paving of the berth, will be completed in August.

“The surfacing of the 15,000m² area dedicated for liquid bulk berth operations covers 50% of the multipurpose terminal.

“The completion of the paving will represent a step closer to our dream of unlocking the potential of the berth to increase cargo volumes and port revenue,” she said.

Oiltanking Grindrod Calulo recently announced its part of the development of the new Ngqura liquid bulk terminal had stalled due to insufficient customer commitment.

Noting this, Lebakeng said that announcement had come after the completion of earthworks at the new site.

The company was awarded preferred bidder status in 2011 by TNPA for the job of developing a liquid bulk storage facility at Ngqura to service fuel imports in the Nelson Mandela Bay region. The facility was intended to replace the existing one in the Port of Port Elizabeth, she said.

“Despite this delay, Transnet National Ports Authority is committed to deliver infrastructure to facilitate and enable the development of a liquid bulk terminal in the port.

“To date, the authority has completed all the design work and major construction work is in progress and scheduled to be completed by September.”

Lebakeng said the authority was at the same time consulting with all role players.

“Transnet National Ports Authority is engaging Oiltanking Grindrod Calulo, the Port Elizabeth oil companies, stakeholders and all the relevant authorities.

“A comprehensive impact assessment is being undertaken by all the relevant parties and the way forward will be communicated in due course.”

She said the new tank farm project dated back to 2014, when, during phase one, infrastructure required to service the new site had been completed.

Thereafter phase two had begun with environmental search and rescue to relocate indigenous plants and animals and the construction of a 3km link road and a fuel line servitude.

An entrance plaza had been built and CCTV, access control, electrical substations, lighting, security fencing, data and telecommunications and a fire-fighting system had been installed.

Oiltanking Grindrod Calulo MD Nico Smit confirmed the delay in March and said the company was liaising with Transnet, but that the scheduled November transfer of the tank farm from Port Elizabeth Harbour to Ngqura would be affected.

He said because the company had been unable to secure sufficient customer commitment for the project it was unable to execute on the contract.

He said there were a number of potential clients, most of them the major oil companies, and negotiations around storage agreements had not been finalised.

Oiltanking Grindrod Calulo shareholders were not prepared to make further financial commitments until this had taken place.

Together with the manganese ore facility in the Port Elizabeth Harbour, the tank farm has long been seen as an impediment to the development of a Port Elizabeth waterfront.

Pressure to transfer the facilities has been applied by a range of entities including the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber and the metro itself.

Despite this pressure the relocation of the two facilities has been repeatedly delayed.

But the latest agreement from Transnet is that the manganese will be moved in 2023/2024 and the tank farm in November 2020.

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