Transnet rejects harbour waterfront proposal for car park

Transnet’s National Ports Authority has made it clear that they will be using land freed up by the relocation of the tank farm and Manganese ore facilities from the Port of Port Elizabeth to the Port of Ngqura, to expand the harbour’s car terminal facilities, effectively rejecting a proposal to utilise this area for a waterfront development.

“Based on current market intelligence, we envision substantial growth in motor industry capacity in the port, to compliment the motor industry in Nelson Mandela Bay,” said Port Manager of Port Elizabeth, Rajesh Dana, at a stakeholders meeting co-hosted by the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber yesterday.

Dana said the waterfront proposal, which has been put forward and lobbied for by various organisations including the chamber, was a “very topical and very sexy idea” that had generated a large amount of debate.

“The practical reality though is that the development of the port has to satisfy our key deliverables, including financial stability and maximum return on investment,” he said.

Dana said Transnet aimed to establish the Port of Port Elizabeth as the premier automotive port in South Africa, with grand ambitions to promote the port as the automotive hub of Africa along the lines of the Changchun harbour in China.

He said Transnet would be investing in the region of R1,9-billion into the port over the next seven years to relocate the liquid bulk and manganese facilities, recommission the 40 tonne slipway, upgrade the existing container terminal from two berths to three as well as upgrading rail and road infrastructure.

Dana said once the freed up land  currently occupied by the tank farm and manganese facilities had been rehabilitated, they would relocate and expand the existing car park, while utilising the current car park to grow the container terminal.

“There is no doubt that the Metro is in dire need of economic rejuvenation,” he said.

Dana said that although the car park would be built on the land identified for the potential waterfront development, Transnet had not completely ruled out a leisure and  recreational area within the port, and was looking at creating a “Marina” within the harbour.

“This area would include the yacht club, expanded recreational fishing facilities as well as other facilities linked with a marina development,” he said.