Afrox receives its biggest-ever LPG shipment in Saldanha Bay
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Afrox receives its biggest-ever LPG shipment in Saldanha Bay

Commercial gas producer African Oxygen (Afrox) recently landed and offloaded the largest cargo of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) it has ever received by sea, at Saldanha, in the Western Cape.

The company ordered the record 3 000 t shipment to alleviate increased pressure on Western Cape supply, as a local oil refinery was due to conduct planned pre-winter maintenance.

“The shipment will effectively support our customers through the typical 20% upswing in demand for LPG that takes place at this time of the year,” bulk LPG business manager Nathi Mbatha said.

He explained that the long distances and safety risks associated with transporting LPG by road from other centres prompted the decision to import the gas directly into the area.

The shipment from the Middle East was offloaded at a rate of 130 t/d, directly into Afrox road tankers for delivery to customers and the company’s subsidiary Afrox Gas & Gears.

Mbatha said that although the latest LPG shipment would supply industrial, hospitality, agricultural and domestic customers throughout the Western Cape, as much as 50% of this gas would be sold to customers within a 10 km radius of the Port of Saldanha.

“The success of this exercise, and that of the previous LPG shipment, point to the likelihood of our bringing in about two to three shipments a year from now.

“We have proved to our partners and Transnet authorities that we can undertake an exercise of this nature to world-class safety standards,” he enthused.

A team of engineers carried out the risk assessment, design and certification of gas equipment, and compiled a comprehensive plan that outlined all the procedures that would need to be followed in offloading LPG, including safety and emergency procedures.

Afrox undertook a similar exercise in 2006, to tackle a severe shortage of LPG, when it chartered a carrier from Belgium to bring in 1 600 t of gas.

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