- International port and logistics firms have joined local players like Grindrod and Remgro on Transnet’s shortlist for private partners for the Durban port upgrade
- Getting Durban’s port back to competitive levels is a critical part of government’s plans to get SA’s economy back on track.
- Transnet has also released the shortlist of private partners for the Port of Ngqura in the Eastern Cape.
Major port and logistic companies from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, China and Europe, as well local players like Grindrod, and the Johann Rupert-chaired Remgro have made the shortlist of private partners for Transnet’s R100 billion upgrade to the crucial Durban port.
This followed a request for information by Transnet last year to gauge interest from potential private bidders for infrastructure at the largest and busiest shipping terminal in sub-Saharan Africa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said last year that getting Durban’s port back to competitive levels was a critical part of government’s plans to get SA’s economy back on track following the Covid-19 pandemic and more than a decade of lacklustre growth.
The port was affected by the widescale floods that hit KwaZulu-Natal in April, and in July last year there were delays at the port after Transnet’s IT system was hacked.
“Transnet is repositioning Durban as a gateway hub port, and plans for significant growth in container capacity over the coming years. As part of the port masterplans, Transnet aims to improve commercial performance and throughput at Durban Container Terminal 2 by bringing in a partner with international terminal operations experience,” the state-owned freight and logistics company said.
Transnet aims to create a 25-year special purpose vehicle between Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) and the winning bidders. Transnet will not have to sell any of its terminal assets, and after 25 years, the terminals would be returned to TPT.
Transnet will now issue a request for proposals to the shortlisted candidates, and they have until December to outline their potential plans in more detail.
The shortlist of private partners for the Durban port project is:
A Dutch port operating company, which is a unit of Danish shipping giant Maersk
CHEC is a subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned China Communications Construction Company, while Guangzhou Port Company is also state-owned, and the operator of the largest hub port in South China.
A Chinese state-owned conglomerate headquartered in Shanghai.
A logistics company based in Dubai. The group recently took control of South Africa’s Imperial Logistics.
A global port management company headquartered in the Philippines.
Improving Ngqura’s performance
Transnet also released the shortlist of private partners for the Port of Ngqura in the Eastern Cape.
The deal focuses on the Ngqura Container Terminal, which is a trans-shipment port – where goods are loaded from one vessel to another. The port serves East and West coast African traffic and traffic from South America to Asia.
“The preferred bidder will be expected to bring in additional trans-shipment volumes and improve terminal performance,” Transnet said.
The shortlist only consists of four candidates, all of whom were on the Durban port shortlist: APM Terminals AMI Management DMCEST, Red Sea Gateway Terminal and MMC Port Holdings Sdn Bhd, Star Classic Investments Limited and Abu Dhabi Ports, and Terminal Investment Limited and Remgro Limited.