Portia Derby, the chief executive of state-owned rail, port and pipeline company Transnet, has confirmed the plan to include the port of Richards Bay in supporting Transnet’s natural gas strategy, whose objective is to lay out storage and import amenities to support South Africa’s developing natural gas sector. The Port of Richards Bay is one in three ports identified for this purpose.
Speaking during a stakeholder engagement session on Friday last week, Derby shared the plan for the port with local and traditional leadership and members of the community within Umhlathuze and its neighbourhoods. According to her, Transnet has a plan to move its liquid bulk activities from the Port of Durban to the Port of Richards Bay in order to support the former’s revolutionizing into a devolved water container centre port. The port is set to, in a short period of time, support the liquefied natural gas (LNG) power generation facilities and
in a longer term, support the LNG import facilities.
The port of Richards Bay
The port of Richards Bay is located 160km north of the port of Durban and 46km south of the port of Maputo in Mozambique. Transnet plans to help increase capacity for the handling of chrome and magnetite in the Port of Richards Bay as it is the primary port responsible for their export with the port of Maputo as a secondary means. For coal exports also, Richards Bay remained the primary channel in South Africa and Transnet plans to maintain targets.
The port is situated close to the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone, a potentially growing industrial hub, which attracts export-orientated investors. In his recent budget vote, Department of Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantshe indicated that they were committed to growing the gas industry into the local economy. According to statistics, South Africa produces about 930 000 tons of natural gas and 104 860 tons of associated condensate.