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Speech delivered by Minister Lynne Brown at the celebration of the Ngqura Container Terminal’s 5th anniversary and expansion programme milestone

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Speech delivered by Minister Lynne Brown at the celebration of the Ngqura Container Terminal’s 5th anniversary and expansion programme milestone
09/03/2015

Premier of the Eastern Cape, Mr Phumulo Masualle Members of the Eastern Cape Provincial Executive Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, Cllr Benson Fihla Transnet Group Chairperson, Ms Linda Mabaso Transnet Group CE, Brian Molefe Officials of the Department of Public Enterprises.

Ladies and gentlemen

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you today as we celebrate five years of the Ngqura Container Terminal's operation.

One of Government's key deliverables in the provision of strategic infrastructure for the growth of the country's economy is the expansion of capacity in the Port of Ngqura, which it is delivering through the state-owned company, Transnet.

The celebrations today mark the completion of the Port's third and fourth berths as well as the delivery of port operating equipment as Transnet accelerates its investment programme at the container terminal. The investments made take the terminal's container handling capacity from 800 TEUs to 1,5 million TEUs per annum.

This is a significant milestone that Transnet has achieved in its drive to develop the Port of Ngqura into a transhipment hub in the Southern Hemisphere. This achievement will certainly increase the chances of South Africa to improve its competitiveness, especially in relation to other ports in the continent which are in direct competition with South Africa for the movement of freight in the global markets. It will also contribute greatly to the integration of our country with the rest of the region and continent.

The Port has also benefitted from being an Industrial Development Zone. Its designation as a special economic zone has supported a broader-based industrialisation growth path in South Africa, while helping the country achieve the objectives as outlined in National Development Plan (NDP). It has supported a balanced regional industrial growth path by fostering the development of more competitive and productive regional economies. We have seen investments in the labour-intensive area in order to increase job creation, competitiveness, skills and technology transfer and exports of beneficiated products.

I would like to congratulate Transnet for investing about R14 billion in building and developing the Port of Ngqura. This includes the latest investment of R2 billion and the reason for us being here today. Its capability to accommodate the new generation of cellular container ships shows the business responsiveness that is so greatly required to give the country a competitive edge and stay ahead of market requirements.

Furthermore, I would also like to congratulate Transnet Port Terminals for its further investment of R1.1 billion aimed at increasing the Ngqura Container Terminal's capacity from 800 000 TEU to 1.5 million TEUs.

It was just over a year ago, in November 2013, when the President of our country, the Honourable Mr Jacob Zuma was in this region to launch the manufacturing of the 350 car wagons by Transnet Engineering. It is encouraging to note that these wagons were completed last year at a cost of R440m. I would also like to congratulate Transnet Engineering in this regard.

These initiatives demonstrate Transnet's commitment to provide capacity ahead of demand and touch the lives of every corner of South Africa by supporting the development and growth of economic activities in all provinces of the country. In line with the strategy to create capacity ahead of demand, Transnet is also currently undertaking feasibility studies towards increasing the port capacity by an additional 0.5 million TEUs to bring the total capacity to a total of 2 million TEUs. This will see further improvements in the economic activities of the province and its contribution to the overall growth of the country's economy and export activities.

Since operations began in October 2009, Ngqura's Container Terminal's has significantly grown in terms of volumes and service offerings.Today the Port is rated by Drewry Maritime Research Company as the fastest growing port in the world at 117.4% growth year on year.

One can rightly ask what the Port has meant to the people of the Eastern Cape? I am pleased that the Port has contributed towards job-creation in the area of the Eastern Cape. To date, more than 825 permanent jobs have been created since the operationalisation of the Port in October 2009. The creation of decent jobs remains a high priority of Government.

The Port has also contributed towards the transformation of the economy. To date, the Port's procurement spend is recorded at R900 million of which R740 million is Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment spend. The transformation of the economy remains a priority area. We cannot undermine our investment towards building and developing our black suppliers. The creation of strong black industrialists shall remain top of the agenda of our government.

When our communities prosper, Government is giving account to the 54 million South Africans who I regard as the actual shareholders. I, as Minister, am managing those assets on your behalf.

Once again, I would like to commend Transnet for their commitment to this region. However, I would like to add that a solid foundation has been laid. I challenge you to extend your footprint in this region and ensure that this flagship project will continue to contribute to the economy of the this region and the country.

I welcome the fact that the new equipment will reinforce capability to move cargo efficiently and improve customer satisfaction.

You continue to make sure that State-Owned Companies are relevant and are key drivers of the country's economy.

And now I permit TPT to operate the terminal officially as your licence has been confirmed by the Department of Transport.

Well done!

For media enquaries contact:

Colin cruywagen Spokesperson Department of Public Enterprises Te: 012 431 1120 Cell: 082 377 9916 Colin.cruywagen@dpe.gov.za or colincruywagen@gemail.com

Issues by Ministry of Public Enterprises 09 March 2015

Page last modified:20/05/2015 17:17