“It is Really Happening Alan….” These are the words that Port of Port Elizabeth Port Manager, Rajesh Dana greeted me with this afternoon at the sod turning in the Coega Industrial Development Zone for the new Liquid Bulk Terminal site to replace the present, ‘past it’s sell by date’, facility in the Port of Port Elizabeth.
Oiltanking Grindrod Calulo (Pty) Ltd (OTGC) – represented by Mkhuseli Faku – and Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) – represented by the Port of Nqura Port Manager, Tandi Lebakeng – today turned the first sod at the site of the Port of Ngqura’s future liquid bulk tank farm and main access road. This comes ahead of the planned decommissioning and rehabilitation of the existing liquid bulk facilities at the neighboring Port of Port Elizabeth, which will pave the way for Ngqura’s establishment as a new petroleum trading hub for Southern Africa.
A seminal day for Port Elizabeth Citizens who have been agitating for the removal of the aged facility for many years now.
An important next step to help PE shrug off the industrial city moniker is the relocation of the manganese ore facility. I, for one, am quietly optimistic that this will happen in my lifetime and have been assured by people who know my deep sense of disquiet at the continued existence of the facility in it’s present form and position. Don’t let me down again, please guys!
TNPA concluded an agreement in late 2016 with OTGC to plan, fund, construct, own, maintain and operate the new facility after an open and transparent tender process.
The OTGC design will cater for 200 000 cbm of bulk storage and final total capacity of 790.000 cbm. The planned commissioning is at the end of 2020.
Speaking at the event, Mkhuseli Faku, Chairman of OTGC said: “Having been awarded the concession to develop a liquid bulk storage and handling facility in the Port of Ngqura, OTGC is now embarking on the first phase of construction. The terminal will be built to the highest international safety standards and provide exceptional service to its customers. OTGC looks forward to becoming a contributing member of the Nelson Mandela Bay community and expects to continue on its growth path in the years ahead.”
Port Manager of the Port of Ngqura, Tandi Lebakeng welcomed the start of construction. “As the port landlord, TNPA is providing port infrastructure for the liquid bulk terminal to commence operations at the end of 2020. The new tank farm will develop the Port of Ngqura’s liquid bulk capacity for commodities such as petroleum, diesel, jet fuel, illuminated paraffin and liquid petroleum gas. Once operational, the terminal will facilitate substantially increased throughputs over present volumes handled at Port Elizabeth due to Ngqura’s deeper draught which allows it to handle much larger vessels. The allocated 20 Ha site also provides ample space for future expansion of the terminal,” she said.
Liquid bulk products will be transported to the Port of Ngqura via ship and piped to the tank farm prior to local supply and/or local and global re-export. The new modern facility will service the oil majors, new entrants into the South African oil industry as well as international traders – all supporting the local shipping industry.
To date the contract for Bulk Earthworks has been awarded and this activity will begin immediately. Civil, mechanical and electrical contractors will be appointed shortly and they will be employing from within the community and developing skills within the construction industry. It is anticipated that 500 local jobs will be created during the construction phase of the project. The total number of permanent staff required for the terminal would be in the region of 50.
TNPA has already completed Phase 1 of the infrastructure required to service the site, including the detailed design of the new port entrance plaza and the new main access road, as well as the pipeline servitude that will form the link between the new tank farm and the port.
Phase 2 commenced in November 2018 and includes the landside development forming the link between the tank farm and the berth. The port authority will provide infrastructure for the new OTGC Tank Farm by equipping Berth B100 to function as a liquid bulk berth. It will also construct a new access road from the tank farm to the berth. TNPA will provide all the associated services and construct a new port entrance on the eastern side of the Coega River.
Apparently talks are underway with the Airports Company of South Africa around the supply of aviation fuel – presently the Port Elizabeth Airport has a dedicated underground pipeline supplying fuel. Alternative means of supply will have to be found.
The rehabilitation of the existing site may present it’s own special challenges as it is situated on reclaimed land and already leaks into the water – leakages are being contained by a boom under the Dom Pedro Jetty.