Transnet invests R2bn in new equipment to improve operations

DURBAN – Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has invested R2 billion to replace aging equipment this current calendar year to improve operations.

The investment includes two mobile harbour cranes for the Port Elizabeth Container Terminal, which will largely benefit the automotive and the agricultural bulk sectors. The East London Multi-Purpose Terminal is set to receive four straddle carriers to better service the automotive sectors while a new tippler for the Saldanha Bulk Terminal will support growing bulk volumes attributed to the mining activities in the country. The terminal’s mobile ship loaders are currently undergoing commissioning with the intention to contribute to operations by April.

The Richards Bay Bulk Terminal has been receiving excavators since 2018 with another five arriving before the end of the 2020/2021 financial year. The terminal will also receive a ship loader and a new conveyor belt that will unlock tippler capacity in the same year.

Acting TPT Chief Operating Officer Velile Dube said, “Equipment is at the centre of loading and unloading goods off a vessel in an operation like ours which is around the clock and covers four major sectors namely containers, cars, bulk and break bulk cargo. Beyond responding to industry calls – the morale of our employees is also impacted by resources available to them to deliver. Considering the remarkable work employees deliver despite aging equipment, we can be confident of new performance records in the near future”.

Currently in progress is the procurement of 43 straddle carriers at the Durban Container Terminals (DCT) set to arrive as the 2020/2021 financial year takes off, a key investment considering the size of the operation and the varying industries it services including pulp and paper industry, retail and automotive.

With the terminal having had to boost its technical resources, review shift patterns and increase the number of gangs servicing calling vessels – the terminal’s turnaround plan  has gained traction. Equally, four straddle carriers will sustain the Cape Town Container Terminal operations this year, which largely services the agricultural industry.

According to Dube, with the acquisition of listed assets came the exercise of mapping out a thorough maintenance plan that will ensure equipment availability to service operations at all times. “

“An equipment boost means having employees on demand to run scheduled maintenance on equipment without any impact to running operations. This way, we are able to maximise value and this translates to efficiency,” said Dube.

South Africa’s pursuit of an export – led growth strategy positions TPT as a fundamental player in facilitating trade, a message Dube says underpins regular communication to company employees during engagement sessions.

“Whenever employees share their sentiments, it’s always on the grounds that South Africa and its economy require us as TPT to deliver – South Africa being citizens and companies alike,” said Dube adding that the calibre of feedback was encouraging considering recent setbacks the company has faced through unprotected strikes.

Localisation and sub – contracting continue to form an integral part of TPT’s Supply Chain Management strategy.

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