R108m dry dock project part of port upgrade

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By ATHENA OREILLY

A R108-million project to refurbish and upgrade the East London harbour’s dry dock to include a repair facility for small crafts is under way.

East London harbour Picture: MARK ANDREWS

This is one of several projects at the harbour and forms part of a Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) half-a-billion rand upgrade of the port.

Earlier this month, TNPA completed the rehabilitation of the sheet-pile wharf adjacent to the dry dock.

Earlier this year, a R176-million West Bank Foreshore project was completed, with a retaining wall to protect the port’s foreshore and rail infrastructure from erosion and damage caused by rough seas and wave action.

The port’s tanker berth fire protection system is being upgraded, while port security has seen an investment of R92-million in surveillance equipment to date, with further investments underway. The port is also replacing its rail network and refurbishing the Buffalo Bridge.

While still in its pre-feasibility stage, TNPA is exploring various designs and layouts to deepen and widen the port’s entrance channel to allow more vessel manoeuvring options.

Acting port manager Alvin Singama said the aim was to refurbish and modernise the port’s infrastructure to sustain existing business and cargo, while simultaneously positioning it for future growth.

“The port is gearing up to further enhance its capacity with an expansion of its automotive facilities and the upgrade of maritime engineering offerings in line with Operation Phakisa.

“There is still potential to grow volumes and expand business in the port, which will have a positive socio-economic impact on the city.

“We are proud to be making progress with several ongoing investments that demonstrate our commitment to the local business community, despite a challenging economic environment,” he said.

Operation Phakisa is a programme introduced by the state to unlock the economic potential of the country’s oceans.

In East London, it includes refurbishment of the dry dock at a total cost of R219-million to support ship repair and marine manufacturing.

The total dry dock refurbishment project is expected to be completed in 2021, with new switchgear and crane rails already completed.

Earlier this month, the Daily Dispatch reported that the port was in line for an expansion of its automotive terminal, as well as maritime engineering and maritime commercial activities. — oreillya@tisoblackstar.co.za

-Dispatch Live

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