SHIPPING: Transhipments Drive Ngqura Volumes
Recent Western Cape Business News
The new Ngqura container terminal is enjoying a busy start to 2010 as transhipment volumes from the Far East, South America and the rest of Africa began arriving at the facility for the first time in January, bumping total vessel calls up to 43 and total cargo volumes up to 35,403 TEU’s since the terminal’s operational launch in October 2009.
January alone saw 18 ships arrive at the terminal, compared to an average of seven over the months October to December.
Says Siya Mhlaluka, Transnet Port Terminals’ Divisional Executive Manager for the Container Sector, “Our strategy was always to position Ngqura container terminal as a potential transhipment hub because of its position midway between the Americas, Far East and Asia.
“We are seeing a good response now, with vessels coming in from the Far East to drop off containers that are then picked up by vessels heading to South American locations.”
The Port of Ngqura’s advantage over other ports in Africa is that it is a deep-water port with a depth of 16.5 metres alongside the berth and an 18 metre draft at the entrance channel, which can accommodate the new generation container vessels.
Currently shipping lines MSC and MOL have included the Port of Ngqura in their regular ports of call. Mhlaluka said other lines were showing interest and Transnet was in the process of negotiating contracts with them.
Transnet is on course to meeting its volume targets for the facility. It had set out to handle 50,000 TEU’s in the first six months of operation and 100,000 TEUs by the end of the first year.
The terminal started off cautiously, handling only 2,960 TEU’s in October but maintained steady growth and had handled 19,606 TEU’s in January.
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