Tank farm move a step closer

The Bulk Liquid Storage facility currently situated in the PE Port will be relocated to Coega Picture: Werner Hills

January start date for erection of Coega liquid and gas containers

Plans and physical work to establish a world-class bulk liquid terminal at Coega are now well under way, paving the way for the removal of Port Elizabeth’s beachfront tank farm and the establishment of a waterfront in its place.

The construction of the new storage facilities near the Port of Ngqura will start with a sod-turning ceremony at the site next month.

News of the project’s progress was welcomed yesterday by organised business, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA).

The new Oiltanking Grindrod Calulo (Pty) Ltd (OTGC) tank farm is expected to reinforce South Africa’s fuel security.

It will also deliver increased fuel management and distribution capacity – the new facility will accommodate a million tons more fuel each year than the tank farm in the Port Elizabeth harbour.

The Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) said design work and a new access road to the site had been completed ahead of time.

In April, work will start on the new tanks and the containers for LP gas.

TNPA chief executive Shulami Qalinge said her organisation had completed the critical design work and built a new access road from the N2 to the 20ha tank farm site.

“A new port entrance plaza and pipeline will be [built to link] the new tank farm [to] Ngqura,” she said.

“Tenders will be issued in January for the tank farm bulk earthworks and the main access road to berth B100.”

The new terminal would start operations at the end of 2019, he said.

Qalinge also said liquid bulk capacity in the Bay would be increased from two million tons a year to three million tons a year.

OTGC, she said, was a majority South African-owned level 1 BBBEE company.

“For Grindrod, the Ngqura liquid storage facility provides further diversification in fuel storage and handling,” Qalinge said.

The Nelson Mandela Business Chamber welcomed the developments yesterday. Chamber spokeswoman Cindy Preller said: “We welcome news that the new liquid bulk terminal is expected to commence operations at Ngqura by the end of 2019.

“The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber has been advocating for the move of the liquid bulk facility and the ore berths [from] Port Elizabeth for many years.

“The relocation of these is essential for a waterfront development, and we would welcome a firm commitment on the decommissioning of these facilities.”

Bay economic development, tourism and agriculture political head Andrew Whitfield said: “We are very pleased to note the progress with the project.

“We are excited at the opportunities the removal of the tank farm will open up for the long-awaited development.

“The removal of the tank farm will be a game changer for the [Bay’s] economy.”

MBDA spokesman Luvuyo Bangazi said: “The MBDA’s investment of more than R40-million in the Baakens environmental upgrade has been very successful.

“The valley’s private sector has also invested greatly in renovating and repurposing old factories into riverside boutique and speciality services businesses bringing citizens back to the valley.

“We see the establishment of the waterfront as the next logical step.”

It would “definitely boost the economy of the city as an attractive mustvisit destination, complementing the work of the MBDA up the Baakens River”, he said.

by Shaun Gillham


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