Port investments an economic contribution – Mbalula

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Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula unveiled critical investments that will contribute to advancing South Africa’s economic interests through Operation Phakisa.

The investments include construction of an onshore liquid natural gas (LNG) re-gasification facility, a liquid bulk operating license to develop and operate a liquid bulk terminal and access rights for the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP).

“These ground-breaking investments will give impetus to growing the oceans economy and implementation of the comprehensive maritime transport policy, which seeks to create a nurturing environment for entrepreneurs to develop and grow their businesses,” the Minister said.

Addressing media on Monday during a visit to the port of Durban, Mbalula said the investments represented the sector’s contribution to the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP).

“To date, working closely with the Minister of Public Enterprises and Transnet National Ports Authority, we have given a green light in respect of a number of investments in ports, which will deliver tangible economic dividends and place South Africa on a sustainable growth path.

“The Strategic Fuel Fund (SFF) will construct an onshore LNG re-gasification facility at Ngqura port.  This investment is of national importance as it responds to energy policy and energy security of the country. The total project value is estimated at US$1.5 billion,” he said.

Mnambithi Terminals will develop and operate a liquid bulk terminal at Durban’s Maydon Wharf 6.

The investment will contribute to sustainable job creation during both construction and operation phases.

“The construction phase will create over 1 500 temporary direct and indirect job opportunities. The operation phase will create over 150 skilled and semi-skilled employment opportunities.

“This investment will contribute to infrastructure development. The total construction investment is R1.5 billion. The US$ 26 million maritime vessel that is part of this investment, is the first chemical tanker to be acquired by a South African company and will be flagged locally,” Mbalula said.

Hillside Aluminium will renew existing leases in Richards Bay port for bulk storage silos, pitch tanks terminal, stockyard facility and conveyor belt system effluent pipeline.

“Hillside is at the apex of South Africa’s aluminium industry and is a major contributor to the country’s economy. Their investment further supports the competitive existence of a downstream aluminium industry directly employing 11 600 people permanently and contributing to indirect formal employment of 28 500 people,” the Minister said.

“Dormac Marine Engineering will renew existing leases, which will generate rental income for Transnet and eThekwini Municipality, currently standing at R17.5 million per annum.

“Durban Premises and Port premises in Cape Town, currently leased from Transnet at full commercial rentals, currently generate R20.6 million per annum for Transnet. Dormac employs 136 employees and this investment will preserve these,” the Minister said.

He affirmed government’s commitment to accelerating interventions geared to enabling small business and medium enterprise participation in the transportation of commodities as part of promoting development and growth of South Africa’s ship registry.

“Plans to make our ship registry attractive and worthwhile for owners to flag ships in South Africa must be given impetus.

“Private sector participation in the sector should, among others, provide a multiplier effect for skills development and broaden access to learning by previously disadvantaged,” the Minister said.

“Port infrastructure projects should boost local content with increasing local supply chains and locally manufactured components are critical to growth of the maritime sector,” the Minister said.

“Addressing the long-standing issue of high cube containers, the department (of transport) is committed to prioritise addressing this issue by developing legislation to give these the same status as double-decker buses and car carriers,” the Minister said.