Containers remain a vital part of South Africa’s economy – being the most common method for transporting goods worldwide. Whilst the Port of Richards Bay is a major dry bulk and liquid bulk port, containerised cargo is currently handled at the Port’s 600-series Multipurpose Handling Facility (MPT), which has an installed capacity of 50,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs).
TNPA managing executive for eastern region ports, Moshe Motlohi says: "The RFI process has enabled TNPA to positively assess the market appetite for such a facility in Richards Bay and the responses have revealed that there is potential to grow the current capacity to an estimated 200,000 TEUs.
"The outcome of the RFI also gives TNPA the confidence that industry players are keen to invest in the development and hence we are able to proceed to the next step of requesting proposals."
The proposed facility is a Greenfield site with a total footprint of approximately 675,000 square meters, however, the RFP bidders must request the proposed footprint required in line with their business case. This development is aligned to the Master Plan for the Port of Richards Bay and it is well suited to serve the northern part of the KwaZulu-Natal province due to its proximity to the hinterland market as compared to the Port of Durban.
Motlohi says that the Richards Bay location will not only have the effect of reducing the logistics costs but also the transportation time too.
The salient features of the RFP are designed to be robust in nature to attract bidders that have some experience and capacity while also allowing new entrants and small medium enterprises within the container handling industry an opportunity to participate in this RFP process and in the construction phase.