Vessel MV BBG Leader
The East London port received its first export manganese call on October 3 when vessel MV BBG Leader docked to load 30 000 metric tonnes at the East London Multipurpose Terminal.
In preparation, Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) delivered 16 manganese trains to the terminal since July this year, with plans to fulfil 150 000 metric tonnes in the current financial year ending in March 2024, Transnet says in a statement.
The tonnage amounts to one vessel loading up to 40 000 metric tonnes of manganese monthly, which will be done using a skip operation that makes use of the ship’s gear. Transnet is also considering ramping up East London volumes to 500 000 metric tonnes from the 2024/25 financial year.
As South Africa continues to increase its manganese exports each year, the need to create export capacity is in line with Transnet’s segmentation strategies prioritising seven commodities, among them manganese, the entity outlines.
It notes that plans are under way to establish a dedicated manganese facility, with a capacity of 16-million tonnes, in Ngqura, also in the Eastern Cape, over the long term.
Currently, TFR rails export manganese from mines in the Northern Cape to the Port Elizabeth Bulk Terminal, the Saldanha Multipurpose Terminal and now the East London Multipurpose Terminal.
“It was important for Transnet to enable industry and unlock demand; hence, the varying projects aimed at responding to industry requests,” the entity outlines.
Tshipi é Ntle Manganese Mining, which exports manganese, is the first company to use the East London Multipurpose Terminal.
“We pride ourselves in being part of this historic and significant milestone. Leveraging the capabilities of Transnet and Tshipi presents an opportunity to enhance manganese logistics operations, ensuring more efficient and environmentally responsible transportation of manganese from South Africa to other countries such as China and India, among others,” says Tshipi CEO Ezekiel Lotlhare.
He adds that the collaboration signified a new partnership era in the industry.
“By utilising Tshipi’s assets in conjunction with Transnet’s rail assets, infrastructure and the multipurpose terminal in East London, we are not only enhancing the efficiency of our operations but also reducing our environmental footprint and negative social impacts associated with road transport,” Lotlhare avers.