TNPA’s Port of Richards Bay set to be a key hub for energy trade

The Port of Richards Bay – Cabinet has welcomed plans put in place by Transnet to resolve the backlog at the port. Picture: Supplied

The Port of Richards Bay – Cabinet has welcomed plans put in place by Transnet to resolve the backlog at the port. Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 21, 2024


The provision of bulk infrastructure to two sites located at the South Dunes precinct was set to position the Transnet National Ports Authority’s (TNPA’s) Port of Richards Bay as a key hub for energy trade.

In a statement on Wednesday, the port infrastructure and marine services provider said the development, which was due for completion at the end of May, would enable the port to cater for the growing demands of the energy sector.

The infrastructure expansion facilitated seamless cargo movement and optimised logistical operations.

Dennis Mqadi, the Port Manager at the Port of Richards Bay, said since the commencement of the project in 2021, the progress made had significantly improved accessibility and utility provision within the port, operational efficiencies and safety for all port users.

Subsequent to obtaining the environmental authorisations in 2019, the project has seen the completion of the Mundra Road extension, as well as the provision of medium voltage electrical supply and portable water supply to the several sites in the precinct.

“TNPA is devoted to providing world-class facilities and services to support the operations of its customers. The recent appointment of the Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) operator, alongside the completion of these infrastructure enhancements, demonstrates the port's responsiveness to evolving market demands, further solidifying its position as a leading maritime gateway in Africa,” Mqadi said.

The construction of the 2.4km rail infrastructure was currently under way, at 90% completion. This included the completion of bulk earthworks and delivery of the permanent way material, such as rails, turnouts and sleepers.

In December, Transnet said it was ramping up the number of locomotives available on its lines as one of the key measures it was implementing to decongest the Port of Richards Bay.

Delays related to truck deliveries at the port had led to a significant congestion leading into the KwaZulu-Natal port. Transnet said the move to put more locomotives on the lines was part of measures to improve the performance of the North Corridor (NorthCor) which handles some 41% of Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) volumes.

Between December last year and March this year, TFR would bring in an additional seven trains, resulting in 35 trains per week to the port to support efforts underway to decongest the port.

The NorthCor runs from coal mining town Lephalale, in Limpopo, to the port and has faced challenges, including lack of availability and reliability, cable theft and vandalism.

The freight and logistics company said at the time it was working on a plan to implement a last-mile strategy, where road carriers would haul cargo to inland terminals and Transnet would conduct a shuttle service into the Port. It said if successful, it expected to have the strategy operational by this month.

Meanwhile, Cabinet has welcomed measures and plans put in place by Transnet to resolve the backlog at ports in Durban and Richards Bay.

Briefing the media on the Cabinet meeting that took place in December, Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said Transnet was making intensive efforts to mobilise equipment, such as cranes, from all over the world to ensure a successful execution of its implementation plan.