On 5 December 2016 Alan Straton from MyPE wrote in Transnet Group Chief Executive on Manganese Ore Dump Moving:
Siyabonga Gama, the Transnet Group Chief Executive was in Port Elizabeth on 1 December 2016 as part of the celebrations for 81 graduates from Port Elizabeth who recently completed their qualifications in various aspects of port and marine operations. (See: Vuyo Seti – for one graduate’s experiences)
After a demonstration of the capabilities of the Port of Port Elizabeth’s two brand new tubs – the Mvezo and Qunu, Gama answered some questions around the training and the Maritime School of Excellence.
We are tempted to say that the answers around the Manganese are not encouraging – listen to the video (yes, it was howling that day!) and decide for yourself:
- Gama is happy with the ‘fantastic job’ that the staff on the ground are doing with regards to the maintenance of the plant
- The Port is shipping ‘far more than they ought to’ by also using the container and break bulk facilities
- In the ‘longer term’ the facility is moving to the Port of Nqura where Transnet will create a 16 Million ton terminal for which the capital investment has been approved
- Phase 1 of the development has already started – which entails the creation of Rail Loops from the Northern Cape into Port Elizabeth
- Transnet is looking at deploying 200 wagon trains into service on the 1050 kilometre line to ‘the ports’.
- ‘The next few years’ will be a world class spectacle of optimising rail integration
- Gama calls for more investment in new manganese mines
- On concerns for the continued operation of the Port of Port Elizabeth as the loss of the Manganese Ore facility to the Port of Nqura will be a heavy financial blow for the Port of Port Elizabeth (an autonomous business unit and not subject to cross subsidisation due to Transnet and Port Regulator governance), Gama said; “There isn’t anything that you ought to be concerned about.”
Worrying again is the lack of clear time frames for the moving of the manganese facility – even the man at the top uses words like ‘longer term’ and ‘few years’, which to my mind demonstrates that many more i’s need to be dotted and t’s crossed.
Bottom line – Don’t hold your breath in anticipation of the PE Waterfront just yet.