Transnet National Ports Authority’s (TNPA) Port of Port Elizabeth says repairs to the tanker berth are progressing as scheduled since it started almost three weeks ago.
The berth has been closed since 18 February 2019 to enable repairs to be carried out on the corroded steel structures supporting the berth’s access walkway. The berth is planned to re-open once it has been recertified by the structural engineer, targeted for 25 March 2019.
The repairs entail strengthening of the vertical columns by the installation of additional vertical I-sections connected to the existing steel piles. The new I-sections will be bolted at intervals on either side of the flanges for the full length of each pile. A total of nine columns will be strengthened both above and below the water.
Port Manager of the Port of Port Elizabeth, Rajesh Dana, said: “TNPA is very pleased with the progress that the contractor has made, despite some delays experienced due to weather conditions affecting the ability to complete underwater works.
“Our weekly meetings with the oil companies have ensured that they are kept abreast of progress. This enabled them to keep measure of their stock in the port, thus ensuring that the promise made to the public of uninterrupted fuel supply to Nelson Mandela Bay during the shutdown is kept.”
Siganeko Magafela of the South African Petroleum Industry Association, said: “SAPIA can confirm that the closure of the berth has resulted in no negative impact to the fuel supply into Nelson Mandela Bay. The oil companies have ensured that contingencies were in place to deliver continual supply to the region.”
Dana commended the manner in which the oil companies have supported TNPA in its work to ensure that the Tanker Berth complies with the required safety standards for optimum operation. He further assured that the repairs were receiving priority attention from TNPA and the contractor would endeavour earlier completion if possible, considering unpredictability of weather conditions.