Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) has given the go-ahead for rail operations at the port of Ngqura to start, after having successfully run a test train on the Ngqura main line and declaring it safe for operation.

This formed part of the preparations for the commercial launch of the port of Ngqura, in the Eastern Cape, and its container terminal in October.

Rail-mounted container cranes have started loading and unloading trains in anticipation of the “imminent” start of port and rail operations at the Ngqura container terminal, TFR said in a statement on Tuesday.

The rail terminal, marshalling yard and main line construction were on schedule for completion. Four lines in the marshalling yard were already operational, while a further five would be ready by March next year, TFR noted.

The rail route links the new port to the City Deep rail terminal in Gauteng through Beaconsfield.

Transnet has refurbished some 400 container wagons and will use its 7E locomotive fleet for traffic on the line, which has a designed capacity of six trains a day.

The marshalling yard infrastructure could accommodate up to six trains a day in each direction and the hinterland would have a design capacity of two trains a day. The hinterland capacity would be increased as volumes increased, subject to financial and business viability, noted TFR.

Transnet has, to date, invested in excess of R10-billion to develop the new port and its associated infrastructure.

The Ngqura container terminal would be able to accommodate ultramega ships carrying between 6 000 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) and 10 000 TEUs.

It would be able to handle in excess of 100 container moves per ship working hour with sufficient stack and berth capacity to cater for future growth up to two-million TEUs.

The terminal also boasted good inland connectivity for import and export traffic through road and rail, stated TFR.

While containers would be the primary go-live cargo focus at the port of Ngqura, TFR was also engaged in a conceptual study regarding rail specific traffic so that other commodities could form part of the transport mix, depending on financial viability and availability, it noted.

PUBLICATION: Engineering News
AUTHOR: Creamer Media Reporter
DATED: 22nd September 2009