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NamPort ExpansionThe African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and Namibia on Friday, November 8, 2013 signed a ZAR 2.9 billion (US $338 million) sovereign guaranteed loan to the Nambian Ports Authority (Namport) to finance the construction of the new container terminal at Port of Walvis Bay and a UA 1.0 million grant (US $1.5 million) to the Government of Namibia for logistics and capacity building complementing the port project loan. The project was approved by the AfDB Group in July 2013.

The project is expected to enable Namport to triple the container-handling capacity at the Port of Walvis Bay from 350,000 TEUs to 1,050,000 TEUs per annum. It will also finance the purchase of up-to-date port equipment and the training of pilots and operators for the new terminal. The grant component will fund the preparation of the National Logistics Master Plan study, technical support and capacity-building for the Walvis Bay Corridor Group and training of freight forwarders.

According to the AfDB Director of Transport and ICT, Amadou Oumarou: “Through this project which potentially serves up to seven major economies in the SADC region, the Bank is assisting in the diversification and distribution of port facilities on the southwest coast of Africa, and provides the much-needed alternative for the region’s landlocked countries.”

The project will stimulate the development and upgrade of multimodal transport corridors linking the port to the hinterland while improving the country’s transport and logistics chains. It will also boost competition among the ports and transport corridors in the region with the ripple effect on reductions in transportation costs and increased economic growth.

The projected project outcomes include improvement in port efficiency and increase in cargo volumes by 70% in 2020 as a result of increased trade in the region. The benefits of the project will include among others, the stimulation of inter-regional trade and regional integration, private sector development, skills transfer and most importantly employment creation, leading to significant economic development and poverty reduction in Namibia, and the SADC region. Source: African Development Bank

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Transnet moves ahead with Maydon Wharf upgrade plan. (Picture credit:  Duane Daws, Creamer Media)

Transnet moves ahead with Maydon Wharf upgrade plan. (Picture credit: Duane Daws, Creamer Media)

Port Technology reports that the IMO’s stricter sulphur emission standards are likely to have a profound impact on the maritime industry. With this in mind, PTI’s sixtieth edition pays a particular focus to the challenges ahead if LNG is to become the shipping fuel of the future and if this is the most viable option for shipping lines vying to meet these new regulations. Elsewhere, we have contributions form Drewry, Liftech consultants and a host of key industry experts, engineers and analysts.

The Port of Durban is situated on the east coast of South Africa, in the KwaZulu- Natal Province. The port is the busiest on the African continent, and the biggest in terms of container capacity with 44 percent of South Africa’s break-bulk cargo and 61 percent of all containerised cargo flowing through it. In 2010 alone, the port handled 2.5 million TEU.

The port has 57 berths and is protected by the north and south breakwaters, which are 335 metres and 700 metres long respectively. It was developed primarily for import cargo but over the years, cargo flows have changed significantly and exports have become more important. Over 4,000 commercial vessels now call at the port each year.

The Maydon Wharf terminal

The Maydon Wharf multi-purpose terminal (MPT) handles a variety of containerised, break-bulk and bulk cargo, and specialises in the handling of specific commodities. The terminal also handles both import and export containers, taking it to an average of 15,000 TEU. It has an annual throughput of more than one million tonnes of break-bulk and neobulk commodities. The Maydon Wharf area consists of 15 berths and the MPT operates principally between berths eight and 13.

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has initiated an extensive upgrade of the infrastructure at the port. One of the major projects is to rebuild and deepen seven of the 15 berths in the Maydon Wharf area. The new quays will be able to accommodate larger vessels and provide suitable load-carrying capacity for the handling of cargos over the berths. Source: Port Technology

Click Picture for full report at porttechnology.org [Port Technology International – Container weighing device]

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is expected to make the weighing of sea containers mandatory. The purpose is to make the entire container supply chain safer. This regulation is expected to be issued through the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS Convention) as a result of a number of accidents involving container losses and container stack collapses. The existing SOLAS regulation already obliges shippers to declare the correct container weights, but this is not always done. The new regulation is likely to require specifically that the container is actually weighed or calculated by reference to the contents, packing and securing materials and the tare weight of the container itself. Importantly, however, the regulation is anticipated to forbid the loading of containers unless the verified gross mass is available to the terminal and the ship’s master.

Practically speaking this means that the shipping lines may require terminals to verify container weights prior to being loaded onto their ships. There will, however, be a cost to it which the shipping lines are likely to pass on to their shippers. But besides added safety, there is another important aspect: optimising ship stowage which should reduce fuel consumption for the shipping lines. A ship is more stable at sea and consumes less fuel when the center of gravity is low and if the cargo is optimally distributed. Therefore, it is in the interest of the shipping lines to know the exact weights. Arguably, there are multiple aspects which determine fuel consumption of a ship, and some may be more important than stowage, but this is nevertheless a factor.

Determining container weights and related costs

First of all, to weigh a container and to use the load information to update the stowage plan, containers need to be weighed preferably at the completion of packing. Clearly, weighing export containers needs to be done sufficiently in advance for the stowage plan to be optimised. If the actual weight is not determined at the completion of packing, the port is in a prime position to provide this service or, indeed, to verify the documented weight. For containers that arrive at the port by road, rail or river an obvious ‘check point’ is during the inward process. Weighing with the quay side crane is too late, since the container position on the ship is determined well before loading.

Weights of transshipped containers should be verified at the original port of loading, but there will always be situations where this has not been physically possible. In that event, it can be said with certainty that every container, whether exported or transshipped, will pass through the stacking yard. It is therefore argued that equipping the stacking cranes with weighing systems best caters for all circumstances. Operators in those countries that require imported containers to be weighed may consider weighing with quay side cranes as well.

What does it cost to weigh a container? Let’s base the calculation on the capacity of a quay side crane which can typically load 100,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) per year. Let’s also assume there are three rubber-tyred gantry cranes (RTG) or rail-mounted gantry cranes (RMGs) required per quay side crane. Let’s further assume a weighing system costs US$20,000 per stacking crane and it is amortised over three years. The cost per year to weigh 100,000 TEU is therefore US$0,20 per TEU. In addition to the capital expenditure for the weighing equipment, the terminal will incur some integration costs plus ongoing maintenance and administration costs, so let’s double this amount to US$0,40 per TEU. Weighing by the stacking cranes during the handling of the containers is also more economical than weighing with weigh bridges which very often involve manual intervention, when trucks are carrying two 20 foot containers which need to be individually weighed. Weighing in the stacking yard is therefore the fastest, most economical and non-disruptive way to the operation. Some terminals have calculated that they could offer their weighing services for US$1 per TEU and earn a profit with it. Continue Reading…

Picture1BILK (Budapest Intermodal Logistics Center) Kombiterminál has become the first Hungarian terminal to join the InlandLinks network, comprising of nearly 40 terminals across the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Italy and Hungary.

InlandLinks, an initiative of the Port of Rotterdam Authority which was developed two years ago in cooperation with VITO (Dutch Inland Container Terminal Organisation), is an online platform for container terminals in the hinterland, offering intermodal services to and from the Port Rotterdam – Europe’s largest port complex

Rotterdam expects to see container flows triple over next 25 years in line with growth in world trade and the increasing size of container vessels. Of the 30 million TEU anticipated to be handled by the Dutch port in 2035, approximately 2 million are expected to be shipped in and out using smaller vessels from and to European ports. Some 18 million TEU will travel to and from the hinterland via intermodal transport, and the Port of Rotterdam hopes that InlandLinks will help to provide greater insight into better and more sustainable connections for this projected flow of cargo.

BILK, located in a suburb in the southeast of Budapest, consists of a railway station/marshalling yard, a bi-modal terminal for combined traffic, and a 70-hectare logistics centre. The terminal has the capacity to handle an annual traffic of 220,000 TEU. Source: Porttechnology.org

 

triple-e-maersk-worlds-largest-shipA Financial Times article reported Maersk’s Triple E Class (18,000 TEU) to be 26 percent more cost efficient than the current E class (15,000 TEU). – Wright, R (2011), Financial Times. ‘Big Ships: Container lines reach for scale’. Recent research into supply chain costs indicates that this is not obvious for the entire supply chain – Streng, M. (2012). Slow steaming: an economic assessment of lowering sailing speeds on a supply chain level’, Master Thesis Urban, Port and Transport Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam.

The capital cost per TEU moved has increased even considering the increase in slot size of newer larger vessels. Due to the increase in transportation duration, the capital costs and insurance of goods transported have gone up. Further cost increase could be accounted for in the increase in time to market. Fast moving goods (such as consumer electronics) that need longer to get from the world’s production centres to the markets is also a cost. Shipping lines are demanding ever shorter port stays in order to make the economies of scale work. The bigger the ship, the greater the cost of hours lost in port, and an increased port stay is a diseconomy of scale.  Port Technology have published the following article which should be useful for shippers, freight forwarders, port planners in better understanding the economics of international shipping and logistics – Mega ships: positive asset or terminals’ worst nightmare?.

Triple E Class Specifications - (AP Moeller/MAERSK Group)

Triple E Class Specifications – (AP Moeller/MAERSK Group) [Click to Enlarge]

Thinking outside the box - Tworty’s unit has doors at each end, the second opening to and locked from the inside.

Thinking outside the box – Tworty’s unit has doors at each end, the second opening to and locked from the inside.

An innovative new ISO container design that allows a unit to be used either as a 40 ft or 20 ft box has completed its maiden voyage.

The Tworty Box, two 20 ft containers that can be linked together to form a single 40 ft unit – “twenty + forty = tworty” – competed its maiden voyage from Hamburg to Montreal on the containership OOCL Montreal.

Two containers joined together as a single unit were stuffed with 20 tonnes of breakbulk cargo, mainly car parts and granulate, for Canadian consignees.

Developer Tworty Box said the container was designed to reduce the cost of repositioning empties, caused by imbalances between supply and demand for 20 ft and 40 ft containers. As the company humourously explains on its website, 1 x tworty = 20ft, 2 x tworty = 40ft.

It has doors at each end; the second door opens to the inside and can only be locked from the inside. This door can be fixed to the container ceiling and, with the use of its special bonding elements, another Tworty Box can be joined up, thereby creating a 40 ft unit of full value and standard doors at both ends.

Tworty Box prototypes have received full International Convention for Safe Containers certification for single and for coupled operation. Source: Tworty.com and Lloyds.

 

The following ship photos come courtesy via Shipspotting, where one of their faithful users caught Maersk’s first Triple-E and the world’s largest ship, the M/V Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller, during her 7th day of sea trials. The photos offer a first glimpse of the Triple-E underway. Despite the iconic blue color scheme and company logo Maersk does not own her just yet. Until the sea trials are completed and the vessel has been accepted by Maersk, she is the property of the yard and is under the command of the yard’s Captain.

The enormous ship, due for launch on June 28, is the world’s biggest. A behemoth even in a world of behemoths, and the first sibling in a new fleet of 19 sisterships. The vessel will have the ability to carry 18,000 TEU containers and will weigh-in at 165,000 metric tons, the equivalent mass of all the gold ever mined.

Sheer size is her most distinguishing feature. At 400 meters, the M/V Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller, as she’ll be called, is significantly longer than any aircraft carrier or even the Titanic, and only slightly shorter than the Empire State Building is high. Standing on her bridge is like peering over the rim of the Grand Canyon. From her highest deck, shipyard workers resemble overgrown ants and officers needing to walk the bridge’s width, wing-to-wing, will wish they had packed roller skates. Sources: gCaptain.com and Shipspotting.com

Trucks at Transnet Freight Rail's City Deep Terminal (Engineering News)

Trucks at Transnet Freight Rail’s City Deep Terminal (Engineering News)

Following up on last year’s meeting (click here!) of the minds, convened by the JCCI, a recent meeting in Johannesburg placed fresh emphasis on the dilemma which impending changes contemplated in Customs Draft Control Bill will have for the import and logistics industry in particular. The following report carried by Engineering News highlights trade’s concerns which are by no means light weight and should be addressed with some consideration before the Bills come into effect. Gauging from the content below, there is a clear disconnect between business and policy makers.

The closure of Johannesburg’s inland port seemed to be a “done deal” as Parliament deliberated the recently tabled Customs Control Bill that would leave the City Deep container depot invalid, Chamber of Commerce and Industry Johannesburg (JCCI) former president Patrick Corbin said on Friday.

The promulgation of the South African Revenue Services’ (Sars’) newly drafted Customs Control Bill, which, in conjunction with the Customs Duty Bill, would replace the current legislation governing customs operations, would have a far-reaching impact on the cost and efficiencies of doing business in South Africa and other fellow Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) countries, he added.

The Bill, which was the product of a three-year development process within the National Economic Development and Labour Council, declared that all imported goods be cleared and released at first port of entry. This was part of efforts by customs officials and government to root out any diversion and smuggling of goods, ensure greater control of goods moving across borders and eliminate risks to national security.

Speaking at the City Deep Forum, held at the JCCI’s offices in Johannesburg, Corbin noted, however, that City Deep had operated as an inland port for the past 35 years, easing the load on the country’s coastal ports, which were already strained to capacity. Despite customs officials assuring the chamber that the operations and facilities in City Deep/Kaserne would retain its licence as a container depot, he believed customs had failed to recognise the critical role City Deep had played in lowering the cost of business, easing the burden on South Africa’s ports and ensuring ease of movement of goods to neighbouring countries. As customs moved full responsibility of container clearances to the ports, port congestion, inefficiencies, shipping delays and costs would rise, and jobs would be lost and import rail volumes decreased, he noted.

Economist Mike Schussler added that the closure of the City Deep inland port operations would add costs, increase unreliability and induce “hassles”, as the Durban port did not have the capacity to handle the extra volumes and its productivity and efficiencies were “questionable” compared with other ports.

“The volume of containers going to overstay or being stopped for examination in City Deep [will] need to be handled by [the coastal] ports. If they can’t cope with the volume at the moment, how are they going to handle increased volumes,” Iprop director Dennis Trotter questioned. He noted that only the containers cleared 72 hours prior to arrival would be allocated to rail transport. Those not cleared three days before arrival would be pushed onto road transport to prevent blocking and delaying rail operations.

This, Schussler said, would also contribute – along with port tariffs and the cost of delays – to higher costs, as road transport was more expensive than rail.

He pointed out that South Africa was deemed third-highest globally in terms of transport pricing. It would also result in less rail capacity returning for export from Johannesburg, further leading to increased volumes moving by road from City Deep to Durban.

Sacu countries, such as Botswana, would also be burdened with higher costs as they relied on City Deep as an inland port. Trotter noted that the region would experience loss of revenue and resultant job losses. Over 50% of South Africa’s economy was located closer to Gauteng than the coastal ports. Johannesburg alone accounted for 34% of the economy, said Schussler, questioning the viability of removing the option of City Deep as a dry port.

However, unfazed by the impending regulations, Transnet continued to inject over R1-billion into expansion and development opportunities at City Deep/Kaserne. Corbin commented that Transnet had accepted the assurances from customs that “nothing would change and the boxes would still be able to move seamlessly once cleared.” The City of Johannesburg’s manager of transport planning Daisy Dwango said the State-owned freight group was ramping up to meet forecast demand of the City Deep/Kaserne depot.

The terminal’s capacity would be increased from the current 280 000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) a year, to 400 000 TEUs a year by 2016, increasing to 700 000 TEUs a year by 2019. Transnet aimed to eventually move to “overcapacity” of up to 1.2-million TEUs a year. Dwango said projections have indicated that by 2021, the City Deep/Kaserne terminals would handle between 900 000 and one-million TEUs a year. Source: Engineering News

Check out this superb article – click here – featured on BBC News Magazine‘s website –

What is blue, a quarter of a mile long, and taller than London’s Olympic stadium? The answer – this year’s new class of container ship, the Triple E. When it goes into service this June, it will be the largest vessel ploughing the sea. Each will contain as much steel as eight Eiffel Towers and have a capacity equivalent to 18,000 20-foot containers (TEU). If those containers were placed in Times Square in New York, they would rise above billboards, streetlights and some buildings. Or, to put it another way, they would fill more than 30 trains, each a mile long and stacked two containers high. Inside those containers, you could fit 36,000 cars or 863 million tins of baked beans.

The Triple E will not be the largest ship ever built. That accolade goes to an “ultra-large crude carrier” (ULCC) built in the 1970s, but all supertankers more than 400m (440 yards) long were scrapped years ago, some after less than a decade of service. Only a couple of shorter ULCCs are still in use. But giant container ships are still being built in large numbers – and they are still growing.

It’s 25 years since the biggest became too wide for the Panama Canal. These first “post-Panamax” ships, carrying 4,300 TEU, had roughly quarter of the capacity of the current record holder – the 16,020 TEU Marco Polo, launched in November by CMA CGM.

In the shipping industry there is already talk of a class of ship that would run aground in the Suez canal, but would just pass through another bottleneck of international trade – the Strait of Malacca, between Malaysia and Indonesia. The “Malaccamax” would carry 30,000 containers.

There are currently 163 ships on the world’s seas with a capacity over 10,000 TEU – but 120 more are on order, including Maersk’s fleet of 20 Triple Es. Source: BBC News Magazine

CMA CGM Marco Polo 16,000 TEU container ship

The world’s largest containership sailed on her maiden voyage with a first load of freight from Ningbo, China. The Marco Polo is at 16,000 TEU currently the biggest box carrier and is the first of a series of three similar dimension vessels that will all be named after great explorers. The delivery of the two next vessels is expected in 2013. This first voyage, w will be used partly to test the ship, the largest in service until Maersk’s 18,000teu Triple-E vessels start to be deployed next year.

Owned by French liner group CMA CGM she will be operated on the company’s French Asia Line service’s FAL 1 rotation where all the group’s largest vessels operate on a fixed-day, weekly connection between Central and South China, the main exporting zones of the country, and Northern Europe. The direct service to Southampton and to Hamburg offers European importers the fastest transit times of the market.

FAL1 is part of a global network of 8 CMA CGM services connecting Asia to Europe Atlantic, which the company claims to be the most thorough offer on the market, and which is based on 29 vessels of 11,400 to 16,000 TEUs. Nicolas Sartini, CMA CGM Group Senior Vice President Asia-Europe Lines, said of the latest offering:

“It is with great pride that the CMA CGM Group launches this new vessel, which is the largest in the world. It shows the expertise of the Group’s teams, who are able to handle not only the very technical piloting of the ship but also its commercial operations. Our entire network of 400 agencies all around the world is active to ensure the successful launching of this ship.

“The CMA CGM Marco Polo is going to join the FAL service, the backbone of the Group’s network of lines. This launching reinforces the Group’s strategy, which began 20 years ago, with the opening of its own offices in China, and continues today with 34 services going from China to Europe, to North and South America, to Australia and Africa, i.e. one departure every 5 hours. To this must also be added the 20 weekly services of our subsidiary Cheng Lie Navigation, the Intra-Asia specialist.”

Singapore is relocating its transshipment port operations to Tuas in 10 years, a move that will add 65 million TEU in annual capacity, nearly doubling today’s capacity at local PSA terminals, announced Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew. Consolidating transshipment operations at Tuas will bolster efficiency, economies of scale, eliminate inter-terminal transfers and result in cost savings and increased productivity.

Located close to the island’s industrial centre, Tuas is a new port development that can handle up to 65 million TEU annually, nearly double Singapore’s present capacity at PSA terminals. The first phase of Tuas is scheduled to open in 10 years, ahead of the 2027 expiration of the leases of Singapore city terminals at Tanjong Pagar, Keppel, and Pulau Brani, noted Dredging Today.

The recently completed Terminals 1 and 2 of Pasir Panjang will be merged in Tuas as well. But PSA Singapore will proceed with Phases 3 and 4, which will cover 250 hectares and add 15 new berths with a six kilometre quay.

The Pasir Panjang expansion, which is estimated to cost about US$3.5 billion, will increase PSA Singapore’s maximum draft from 16 to 18 metres to accommodate fully laden 18,000 TEUers now on order. By 2020, both phases will add an annual capacity of 15 million TEU, bringing the port total to 50 million TEU, but is still less than the additional Tuas planned capacity, which alone is estimated to handle 15 million TEU on completion. Source: www.seanews.com

Container weight misdeclarations will compromise safety if new rules are accepted to allow 10 per cent more cargo aboard ships in the 4,000- to 16,000-TEU range, says the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).

The Lloyd’s Register liberalisation proposals to increase the stacking of boxes on board is backed by the forwarding lobby FIATA (Federation Internationale des Associations de Transitaires et Assimiles), but ITF port representative Albert Le Monnier says the measure is “absurd” without the verification of weights of laden containers before loading. “Look at the problem of misdeclaration we’re experiencing,” said Mr Le Monnier, former vice-president of Canada’s west coast section of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).

“As a rule, self regulation has a very poor record.” The World Shipping Council (WSC), the Baltic and Maritime Council (BIMCO) and International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) as well as the US, Denmark and the Netherlands are seeking verification of weight of loaded containers as a pre-loading condition for ships.

The practice needs to be shared or to be assigned to the shipper, consignor or consolidator through a system of roadside weigh bridges en route or have a weigh bridges at the terminal, said Mr Le Monnier, reported the London’s Loadstar.

The cost to the terminal operator would be passed on to carriers, then on to the shipper, and ultimately end up in a negligible consumer end-price, said Mr Le Monnier. It is essential, he said, that any weighing verification of loaded containers isn’t rushed through without careful thought by the IMO “correspondence group” due to report back by June 2013, ahead of the deadline for deliberation in September on the issue.

Stacking weights differently aboard could increase cargo 10 per cent for 18,000-TEU vessels allowing for operational flexibility, said the Lloyds Register marine director Tom Boardley. “These results indicate clearly that we will be able to allow much higher cargo weights and enable more operational flexibility – and to do this in safety,” he said. “The potential in cargo increase is considerable.” Source: http://www.seanews.com.tr

Transnet Port Terminals has successfully completed testing of two Liebherr Super Post Panamax cranes at Ngqura Container Terminal, just north of Port Elizabeth. The Ship-to-Shore cranes (STS), which were delivered in January bringing the terminal’s fleet of STS cranes to eight, represent an investment of R150 million by the port operator.

The cranes will improve productivity by increasing Ship Working Hour (SWH) – the number of containers moved by the number of cranes working a vessel in one hour. A total of 78 additional operators have been trained and are ready to operate the equipment. Transnet’s newly formulated Market Demand Strategy will see Transnet SOC Limited invest R300 billion on freight infrastructure over the next seven years. Of this, TPT will invest R33 billion to boost port operations.

The portion allocated for the 600,000 m2 Ngqura Container Terminal includes just under R1.1 billion for its Phase 2 A expansion, which will increase container handling capacity from the current 800,000 TEU to 1.5 million TEU by 2013/14. A further R 808 million will be spent between 2015 and 2019 on the terminal’s Phase 2 B expansion to increase the terminal’s capacity to two million TEU. Source: Porttechnology.org

Engineering News reports that Gauteng will require additional container terminal capacity by 2016, when City Deep, in Johannesburg, will reach its full capacity. Container movements to the province was projected to grow to over three-million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) a year by 2020, she said in her Budget Vote address at the Gauteng Provincial Legislature. Gauteng’s intermodal capacity currently stood at 650 000 TEUs a year and comprised the Pretcon, Vaalcon, Kascon and City Deep hubs.

Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Qedani Mahlangu said the next generation of inland hubs would create an integrated multimodal logistics capability connecting air, road, rail and sea. Tambo Springs and Sentrarand, in Ekurhuleni, were identified to be developed into the new improved hubs.

By 2018, Tambo Springs would handle 500 000 TEUs and will focus on economic development and job creation, among others. “Tambo Springs will serve as an incubator to stimulate the establishment and growth of new ventures, create opportunities for small, medium-sized and micro enterprises and create 150 000 new jobs,” Mahlangu said.

She added that the department was working towards reaching an agreement with State-owned Transnet in September so that funding could be committed to start implementation by June 2013, for the first phase, which would comprise the railway arrival and departure terminal, to be completed by March 2014.

As per the Gauteng Employment, Growth and Development Strategy, freight and logistics were key drivers in stimulating sustainable growth in the province and the country. “Logistics efficiency will have positive spin-offs to the country‘s ability to export and import goods. In terms of freight, the intention is to move to rail… thereby reducing congestion on roads, air pollution and the impact on the surface of roads. The overall objective is to optimise Gauteng as the gateway to the emerging African market,” Mahlangu said. Source: Engineeringnews.co.za

While on the topic of port expansion, an acquaintance of mine reminded me of another development, right here in my backyard. He was referring to Inframax Holding’s proposed development of an inland mega-port and logistics gateway 25 km southeast of the Johannesburg CBD. The 630ha site identified for this project will be called Tambo Springs and is located on land originally known as Tamboekiesfontein farm.

Tambo Springs Logistics Port

Gauteng is the largest metropolitan area in Africa, and one of the largest in the world, with a population of 10 million people generating the largest annual GDP in Africa. Inframax’s vision is to develop this site, and potentially add another 600ha, into a new inland port and logistics gateway that will contribute significantly to meeting Gauteng’s need to increase the current freight logistics capacity/throughput in and out of Johannesburg, to three million twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) by 2015 and four million TEUs by 2020 – with further increases after that.

According to locally born, Texas-based logistics consultant, Franco Eleuteri and Associates, the logistics challenges now faced in Johannesburg/Gauteng have cropped up worldwide wherever cities have expanded fast. Typically, the original logistics centres were developed on the city peripheries. Over the years, however, these cities grow and absorb the centres, making it difficult to expand or upgrade to accommodate new demands. This is basically what is happening to Johannesburg’s City Deep Terminal, which was established in 1977 as a bonded inland container depot where containers from Durban could clear customs in Johannesburg. City Deep still has a vital role to play but the time has come to have it operating in tandem with a larger inland port or ports on the new city periphery and able to accommodate a large efficient intermodal capability for road, rail and air transport. This is fundamental to any 21st Century freight operation.

Tambo Springs is exceptionally well positioned as it is located in the southern periphery of Johannesburg and within the Johannesburg/Durban road freight and rail corridor. It has access to the N3 freeway to Durban (South Africa’s major freight transport route), to the N1 to Cape Town and via the R390, to Port Elizabeth and East London as well as to other freeways to the industrial centres just south of Johannesburg: Heidelberg, Vereeniging, Vanderbijl Park and Sasolburg, all of which are within 20 to 60km.

The site is also only 22km from the City Deep Terminal and 25km from the OR Tambo Air Freight Terminal. These excellent road linkages will allow the site to accommodate both full truck load (FTL) long distance road freight and less than truck load (LTL) regional distribution. On the freight rail side the existing dual directional links already run through the site to all the areas mentioned above. Accordingly, the Tambo Springs development can contribute significantly to optimising the country’s existing infrastructure, particularly that of the Ngqura Deep Water Port near Port Elizabeth. More optimal usage has the potential to increase this Eastern Corridor’s share of South Africa’s freight handling from about 14% to 21% in future. This is important given congestion at Durban harbour.

Inframax has from the outset engaged with key public sector authorities and agencies to canvass in principle policy support for the initiative. These include Gauteng Department of Economic Development; Blue IQ; Transnet Freight Rail and Ekurhuleni Municipality. What is not clear, however, is whether or not Inframax has read the draft Customs Control Bill, which at this point would effectively create a barrier to such development. These are interesting times: a test  as to whether business and trade ‘really’ determine economic and logistics opportunities, or whether policy makers have the vision to see the bigger picture.