Transnet’s specialist unit has a host of projects in the pipeline

NMPP coastal teminal 1_opt.jpeg

Transnet Capital Projects (TCP) is a specialist unit within Transnet that focuses on the development and execution of infrastructure projects on behalf of the Transnet Operating Divisions. TCP’s mission is to deliver major infrastructure projects sustainably through the provision of technically specialised Engineering and Project Management services. These services will enable TCP to focus on the effective management of engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) on all projects while exercising best practices in project management, including following the project lifecycle processes (PLP) in the execution of projects. TCP aims to become the centre of excellence for capital investment projects and infrastructure project development and execution within Transnet.

With the introduction of the Market Demand Strategy, which has increased Transnet’s capital investment from R110-billion over the course of five years to R302-billion over the next seven years, TCP is mandated to successfully and sustainably deliver infrastructure projects.

The New Multi Product Pipeline Project

The New Multi Product Pipeline (NMPP) Project was initiated to enable Transnet Pipeline to deliver fuel to the inland areas to the year 2030 and beyond. The project comprises of:

*a Coastal Terminal (Terminal 1) located at Island View in the south of Durban,an Inland Terminal (Terminal 2) located at Heidelberg (Jameson Park) in the south east of Johannesburg, a 24-inch pipeline that stretches between the two terminals, three pump and two metering stations along the 24-inch pipeline, and three 16-inch pipelines which service the inland network within Gauteng.

The total product storage volume of the completed terminals will be 354 450 cubic metres of product and the mainline pumping capacity will be 3 000 cubic metres per hour. Multiple tanks containing the same product will enable the option of receiving a specific grade of product into an accumulator, while pumping the same grade of product from other accumulators concurrently. The pipeline was brought into operation in January 2012 with the successful commissioning of the 555km 24-inch pipe trunk line between Durban and Jameson Park and the three pump stations situated at Tweni in Durban, Hilltop near Pietermaritzburg and Mnambithi near Ladysmith all coming into operation. The three 16-inch pipelines in the Inland Network between Kendal and Waltloo; Jameson Park (Heidelberg) to Alrode; and Alrode to Langlaagte were brought into operation prior to the 24-inch trunk line commissioning. The NMPP is one of South Africa’s most ambitious engineering and construction projects and at the time was the largest in Transnet Capital Project’s portfolio. Among the biggest multi-product pipelines in the world, and one of the most complex, the MPP represents cutting-edge innovation in concept, design and implementation—but remains largely unseen by the South African people with its pipeline system buried well underground. The commissioning of the terminals will give the NMPP a full multi-product handling capability.

Terminal 1, located in the Cutler Complex at Island View, will make available accumulator tanks to accommodate the various fuel products that will be transported by the MPP pipeline. Multiple types of refined hydrocarbon products will be transported along this pipeline, namely gasoline/petrol (both unleaded 93 octane and unleaded 95 octane, diesel (both low sulphur diesel and ultra-low-sulphur diesel) and jet fuel. The Terminal will have full metering and proving capabilities to receive fuel products from the various fuel companies based in Durban. The product receiving and metering facility at Terminal 1 will receive refined products from Sapref, Engen, Total, Vopak and others, via dedicated product lines, into product accumulator tanks, while off-spec product is diverted to intermix tanks.

A new sophisticated control building as well as mainline and booster pumps, laboratory facilities and effluent control and spill basin are provided for as part of the Terminal 1 scope. Three mainline pumps have been installed which operate in parallel ensuring that the minimum number of pumps provide the required flow rate.

As the product demand increases, the number of parallel pumps can be increased as required. Construction is in accordance with a strict Environmental Management Plan with onsite water treatment facilities to deal with any contaminated ground water that may be experienced.

Waterberg project

The Waterberg region represents an in-situ coal resource in excess of 75.7 billion tonnes, and is expected to experience significant growth in coal and mineral production over the next 20 years.

Transnet has in recent years received numerous requests from industry for an assessment and subsequent supply of long-term rail network capacity from the Waterberg area to Richards Bay and Maputo (for export) and to various inland destinations (for the domestic market).

The Waterberg complex is regarded as a strategic growth node for various activities within the mining and industrial sectors. Adequate rail infrastructure capacity is deemed critical to unlock the potential of this region which necessitates a review of the available and required capacity to support the forecast growth of various commodities, of which coal potentially is dominant. Demand scenarios generated from customers and public domain sources range from 80Mtpa to some 135Mtpa.

Leads from major players including Anglo Coal, Exxaro, Aquila, Eskom, Sekoko coal, Resource Generation, Firestone Coal, CIC Energy and Sasol indicate a long-term potential of the order of 110 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) on rail but demand is speculative and realisation will depend on the economics of the day. Demand scenarios generated from customers and public domain sources range from a low of 50Mtpa to a high of ~135Mtpa. In order to achieve these, TCP will be implementing the Waterberg in stages that will ultimately achieve the envisaged volumes.

Maydon wharf

The project scope entails the reconstruction and deepening of seven-sheet pile quay walls (Berth 1–4, 12–14 totalling 1 237m, of which 274m (Berth 12) is complete) in the Port of Durban with associated demolitions, excavations, extraction of existing 100-year-old timber piles, concrete, steel sheet piles, construction of new combi steel piled quay walls, cope beams, quayside paving, services, bollards, fenders, dredging, scour protection including a first of its kind piling system in South Africa which is the grouted steel anchor piles, among other things.

The berths will be deepened to -14,5m CD with the provision of rock scour protection. Berth 12 has been extended by 12m into the harbour to align with berths 13–15 and to create an additional deep water berth to handle modern larger vessels.

City Deep

City Deep container terminal dominates container volumes in South Africa, representing 70% of total landside container flow. The project executed by Transnet Capital Projects at the terminal included the upgrading and replacing old and cracked paving, installation of the navigational (NAVIS) system and the installation of terminal lighting. The terminal project encompassed the creation of a modern inland container terminal with a sustainable operational capacity of 400 000 TEU per annum by rehabilitating existing terminal equipment and upgrading and replacing existing terminal infrastructure.

Richards Bay Port expansion

TCP will be executing the expansion of the port of Richards Bay project aimed at providing the necessary infrastructure that will enable the port to handle the anticipated growth in demand for export commodities. The Port Terminals in Richards Bay were originally designed to receive export cargo by rail, with an operating model and infrastructure deployed in the Bayvue yard for 40 wagon vacuum-braked trains. Currently, the terminals receive air-braked trains varying in length up to 75 wagons requiring significant shunting during processing, resulting in excessive turn-around times (TAT) in the port. The current terminal facilities are now near operational capacity and a significant portion of the assets are at the end of their useful life. Moreover, the significant volumes received into the port by road have increased the truck congestion over the years, the extent of which the original port design did not cater for. The demand forecast for rail, road and harbour bound conveyor linked industry is expected to grow from 22.6 Mt in 2012 to double or greater by the year 2040.


Currently, a total of 6.9Mtpa of Manganese ore is exported from South Africa through Port Elizabeth (~4.8Mtpa—rail only), Durban (~1.8Mtpa—rail and road) and Richards Bay (~0.3Mtpa—road). Transnet has announced the closure of the PE terminal circa 2017 due to environmental concerns.

Demand for manganese is strongly tied to demand for steel, with more than 90% of manganese used directly in steel production. Global steel demand is expected to grow by ~3% p.a. from 1,393Mtpa in 2011 to 2,180Mtpa in 2025, which would imply global manganese demand ore growth of ~20Mtpa by 2025.

Assuming a 30% market share is possible, up from the current 20%; it implies a total demand for South African ore of ~16Mtpa by 2025 which is the basis for the business case.

This position supports the national agenda to accelerate investment in the mining sector and support the industrialisation of South Africa’s mineral resources. South Africa as a major supplier is well positioned to capture growth in the manganese industry. South Africa currently exports ~20% of the world’s contestable manganese, holds 80% of known world resources, and 24% of quantified world’s reserves.

Swaziland Rail Link

The Swaziland Rail Link project entails the construction of a 146km railway line between Lothair, in Mpumalanga, and Sidvokodvo, in Swaziland. This railway line will have an initial annual capacity of 16-million tonnes, comprising of general freight business which will be diverted from the Ermelo–Richards Bay coal line through Swaziland, thereby increasing the capacity of South Africa’s coal channel from Mpumalanga to the Richards Bay Coal Terminal in KwaZulu-Natal.

Further scope requirements include providing a rail connection from Davel to Maputo via Swaziland, enhancing capacity for Komatipoort–Richards Bay traffic; providing viable connections for all rail freight from western Swaziland to markets in South Africa, Mozambique and overseas; and providing viable connections for rail freight from South Africa to markets in Swaziland, Mozambique and overseas via Maputo.

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This edition

Issue 29


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