SOUTH AFRICA – Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) is set to invest R1 billion (USD 51.9 million) in acquiring seven new tugboats through its marine fleet renewal program in a move to boost operational efficiency within South African ports.

These tugboats will replace aging marine craft at the ports of Durban and East London, ensuring that TNPA remains at the forefront of reliable marine services.

TNPA has enlisted Damen Shipyards Cape Town for this critical initiative, awarding them two contracts to deliver the seven state-of-the-art tugboats between April and August 2024.

The Port of Durban will receive five of these tugs, while the Port of East London will be allocated the remaining two.

Captain Rufus Lekala, Chief Harbour Master, highlighted the significance of this investment, stating, “This investment demonstrates TNPA’s ongoing commitment to providing reliable marine craft at our South African ports, enabling us to effectively service the marine industry and respond to global shipping demands.”

These newly procured tugboats feature the latest advancements in hull design and propulsion, boasting a remarkable 60-tonne bollard pull, a substantial improvement from the existing tugs with 32 and 40-tonne pulls.

This enhanced capability adheres to international standards, making the tugboats highly maneuverable and adept at guiding larger and newer vessels safely within the ports.

Lekala emphasized, “The 60-tonne bollard pull meets international standards and makes the craft highly manoeuvrable while guiding larger and newer vessels safely in and out of the ports.”

TNPA’s strategic investment ensures that South African ports continue to meet the evolving demands of the maritime industry and contribute to the nation’s economic growth.

CTCT achieves efficiency gains with optimized container handling

Meanwhile, in a recent announcement, the Cape Town Container Terminal (CTCT) has demonstrated a significant boost in efficiency by increasing its truck handling volumes over the past three weeks.

The terminal reported a commendable surge in volume throughput, rising from an average of 5,500 to an impressive 7,865 containers during this period.

Additionally, CTCT successfully reduced truck turnaround time, marking a substantial improvement from 75 minutes during January 15-21 to just 51 minutes last week.

Oscar Borchards, the Acting Western Cape Terminals Managing Executive at Transnet, credited these improvements to the optimization of their electronic container management system, Navis.

Borchards stated, “We attribute all our improvements at CTCT mainly to our optimization of the container management system Navis, which helps to streamline our processes and ensure efficiencies in our operations. In order to support our turnaround strategy, it was critical that we take advantage of an already existing system and reprioritize.”

The implementation of a yard strategy using Navis played a pivotal role in better planning the container stack, resulting in encouraging outcomes.

Borchards emphasized the terminal’s commitment to ensuring fluidity in both landside and waterside operations, especially with the impending citrus season on the horizon.

“As we continue building on what has already been achieved, it remains our focus to ensure fluidity of both our landside and waterside operations at CTCT while we continue building on what has already been achieved to maintain sustainable improvements,” Borchards concluded.

The optimization efforts reflect CTCT’s commitment to operational excellence and responsiveness to the demands of the shipping industry.

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