Transnet considers ship repair facility for Saldanha BayApril 14, 2010 by: admin
Kahla said no decision had been taken yet on whether the facility would indeed be established and where it would be situated, as the company still needed to evaluate its viability.
“Every now and again, people raise the need for a ship repair facility. There seems to be a belief that there is a market for it,” Kahla said.
“If there is a business case for it, we will invest in activities that will support the ship repair facility but we would want to bring in people who have the expertise.”
Kahla said in the event that a ship repair facility was built, the transport parastatal’s main role would be to provide the property using the National Ports Authority’s assets.
“We don’t see ourselves as experts in ship repair. We will work out where there could be a proper place and the private sector will be involved,” he said. “We want to run our ports on a complementary system. But the key point is that not everything will be done by ourselves,” he added.
Kahla said many people believed that a ship repair facility would be viable because the number of vessels going round the Cape had increased as people avoided Somali seas owing to the piracy risk.
Meanwhile, Kahla said the company would make a decision within a year on where to move the manganese ore line, which is currently run from the Port Elizabeth port.
He said people had been calling for the line to be moved elsewhere for some time and the general expectation was that it would shift to the newly built port of Ngqura.
“At the moment, we are assessing what would be the best option. It is between Ngqura and Saldanha Bay,” said Kahla.
Although most people expect the ore line to be moved to Ngqura, Kahla said Saldanha Bay was probably ideally suited because the manganese ore came from the Northern Cape, and Saldanha Bay was closer.
Kahla said the shipping of containers could replace the shipping of manganese ore in Port Elizabeth.
Transnet is working with the industry to increase manganese exports to 12 million tons a year by 2012.
The Northern Cape to Saldanha Bay export line is well-established, as it handles the iron ore line. At present, 47 million tons of iron ore are exported a year.