Huge Ship Unloader for Richard's Bay

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Port operator Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has earmarked the biggest slice of its R33 billion budget over the next seven years for new equipment acquisition projects at Richards Bay, the country’s largest bulk export facility.
This week saw  the  arrival  of  one of  the terminal’s largest assets, a custom-built pneumatic  ship unloader produced by Swiss shipping manufacturer, Rio Tinto Alcan  (RTA)  Alesa Engineering Ltd.


The unloader is only the seventh of its kind in the world and its  arrival  signals the start of the Richards Bay Terminal’s ambitious R3 billion equipment replacement programme to improve capacity, equipment reliability and service delivery. This will better enable the terminal  to yield maximum results by meeting the needs its customers.
This machine  will  be  able  to  unload  alumina and petcoke  from  vessels  and  will  facilitate  a
homogeneous and dust reduced material flow. It has the capacity to unload 1000 tons per hour by
design, making it a valuable acquisition in improving the terminal’s operational efficiency.


TPT client BHP Billiton Aluminium SA expressed its commitment to working with its long-standing
partner TPT to ensure the success of the newly acquired pneumatic unloader.
Lucas Msimanga,  Asset  President  of  BHP  Billiton  Aluminium  SA, said: “We would like to take the
opportunity of thanking and congratulating TPT for providing this essential equipment. As BHP Billiton
Aluminium SA, we  feel this clearly demonstrates TPT’s commitment to improving operations  and
delivery of a high quality service to its partners. The offloader will significantly improve the efficiency
of BHP Billiton’s operation and will undoubtedly make a positive impact in reducing spillages.”


The R3 billion earmarked for equipment replacement  in Richards Bay  falls within a total of R12.1
billion allocated for the plant over seven years.
Says TPT’s Richards Bay Terminal Head, Victor Mkhize, “This investment in Richards Bay shows TPT’s
sound commitment to the terminal and will make a remarkable difference in enabling the plant to
achieve improved operating efficiencies and deliver on customer expectations.”
“A number of tasks will be executed when the new unloader arrives. This includes assembling,
operator training, endurance testing, hot and cold commissioning and handover. This is an historic
moment for TPT and an important milestone we can be proud of,” he added.


Transnet SOC Ltd’s Market Demand Strategy (MDS) will see the company invest in excess of R300
billion on capital projects over a seven-year period aimed at building freight capacity to support South
Africa’s economic growth.
Commenting on the seven year capital investment programme, TPT Chief Executive Karl Socikwa
says: “The MDS has major implications for our division’s  responsibility to facilitate unconstrained
growth, unlock demand and create world-class port operations through improved efficiencies”.
“Acquiring the unloader in Richards Bay is certainly a significant step towards us achieving our MDS
objectives and huge thanks must go to the project team for many months of intensive work involved
in getting us to this milestone,” he said.
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