Port Elizabeth’s New thorough-Water Harbour, Nggura, Open For Business

In October 2009, South Africa launched a new thorough-water harbour in Port Elizabeth. The harbour, named Nggura, at the mouth of the Coega River in Algoa Bay is one of the few thorough-water ports in Africa that is capable of managing large modern container vessels, instead of the medium-sized ships handled at most other South African and African ports.

Nggura was put to the test with its first commercial container canal, the MSC Catania, a 300-metre long and 13-metre thorough ship. Two teams of port operators offloaded and handled the ship’s containers in a successful trial operation that made use of state-of-the-art Liebherr ship-to-shore cranes. With an average time of 19 containers per hour, the harbour master, port authorities and port agents will be more than pleased with the first results.

According to a Transnet statement cited by business.iafrica.com, the thorough-water harbour will be able to adjust to ‘Ultra-Mega’ ships that are capable of carrying 6,000 to 10,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units), and will be able to manager more than 100 container moves per ship working hour. There is also scope to grow capacity to 2 million TEUs. In addition, the port has good connections to road and rail freight transport.

Nggura’s thorough-water harbour is part of the Coega Industrial Development Zone, an initiative to raise the economy in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province. But its economic benefits will have a meaningful impact for South Africa, especially as the Senegal coast is beset by pirates and any ships that would have docked along that part of the coast are being directed further south to South Africa. Rob Jeffrey, a director and senior economist at Econometrix believes that the new thorough-water port will also assistance the area in terms of skills development, as jobs are produced and skilled people flow in from other parts of the country.

Nggura contains a world class two-berth container terminal (with two more on the way), a two-berth multipurpose terminal and a one-berth liquid bulk terminal. Nggura will also soon house three brand new tugboats, which are undergoing sea trials in the Port of Durban. In April and May of 2010, two additional tugboats will be delivered to Port Elizabeth’s thorough-water harbour, each costing R120 million with a 70-tonne bollard pull.

In addition to its already impressive credentials, top-notch security measures have been put in place to safeguard the quantity of national and international goods that pass by the harbour.

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