Transnet National Ports Authority has given its full assurance that contingency plans are in place to avoid disruptions to fuel supplies during a scheduled five-week shutdown of the tanker berth in the Port Elizabeth harbour from Monday, 18 February until Monday, 25 March 2019. The berth outage will enable repairs to be carried out on the corroded steel structures supporting the berth’s access walkway.
Port Manager at the Port of Port Elizabeth, Rajesh Dana, said: “TNPA made the decision to temporarily close the Port of PE’s tanker berth after extensive consultation with the oil companies, namely liquid bulk terminal operators operating out of the PE Tank Farm and the South African Petroleum Industry Association (SAPIA).
“In our engagements with the oil companies, TNPA both advised and encouraged them to ramp up on the stock holdings at the PE harbour ahead of this shutdown and they have assured us that they have mitigation measures in place to ensure uninterrupted fuel supply to Nelson Mandela Bay. TNPA will meet them weekly during the repair period to share progress and address any challenges.”
During the repair period, fuel trucks will be redirected to the Port of East London’s Liquid Bulk Terminals, where there is sufficient capacity to manage the temporary diversion.
The tank farm landside operations of supplying local fuel outlets will still continue during the berth outage. No negative impact is anticipated for the port’s other operations including marine operations, the fishing industry, bunkering and more.
Dana said there was no need for panic. “Whilst we appreciate isolated concerns regarding the closure, we have been assured by the oil companies that they have mitigation measures in place to ensure uninterrupted fuel supply to Nelson Mandela Bay. This matter is receiving our priority attention and weekly meeting on progress of the works will be held to ensure the timely completion of the repair works.”