Distribution by main destination is shown in the graph and
this does appear constant across the markets but again India and
Europe are also increasing purchases.
Given the challenges on infrastructure, it is therefore
important that a solid plan is in place for the future and this is
now formally under way through Transnet capacity upgrades.
This is via both inland rail upgrades as well as port. The key
start-up date for new capacity will be 2018/2019 financial year.
It is still hoped that Nqgura Manganese Terminal will be
commissioned in 2018/2019 and will have two shiploaders with
the ability to load two 80,000dwt Panamax vessels
simultaneously, which is a massive ramp up over the current
operation in Port Elizabeth handling only one vessel at maximum
In this respect, it has been interesting to see how Port
Elizabeth terminal has coped with increasing volume noting that
the terminal has only one berth. In 2010, the terminal handled
largely Handysize smaller units but did use 22 Handymax vessels.
This grew to 65 Handymax vessels in 2011 and used 94
Handymax vessels in 2014. Significantly we have also seen the
use of 23 small size Panamax vessels (65–70,000dwt range) so
the port has still handled the same number of vessels per month
but increased the load per month.
That said, at 6.2mt the system cannot handle further growth so it remains tight supply and demand in this sector for two to
CHROME ORE TRADE
The chrome ore exports flows are updated below and shows
South African exports declined by 16.5% in 2014 which, in fact,
were showing 32% decline by mid 2014. This was entirely the
result of the platinum strike lasting five months in the first half of
the year. The impact of this was the by-product of UG2 chrome
and had a massive effect on export supply. Of more concern in
spite of South African short supply, this did not impact the global
price which was another factor in less exports overall.
Even more surprising was that China did not replace the
lesser supply and in fact only imported 9.4mt against her
previous record of 12mt in 2013. The declines in volume did not
seem to affect the bulk sector as much as the container sector
and this was evidenced by more bulk volume moving through
Durban which was traditionally the container gateway in the past.
What has been positive in 2014 is the re-emergence of ferro chrome exports from South Africa in spite of the power crisis.
New energy-efficient furnaces have been installed which has
allowed production to grow. In 2014, exports grew to 3.12mt
up from 2.7mt in 2013. Volumes were as high as 3.9mt in 2008,
so there is some way to go but the numbers are positive. South
Africa has also diversified into other markets with this product
so China is less than 30% of exports.
It has been a turbulent year for South Africa in 2014, and
2015 looks like it could be similar in certain ways but there are
positive signs in some sectors and the potential for good
growth. The grain trade increased imports will also provide a
welcome boost to operators of Handy tonnage to secure two-
way trade and this will be an interesting development to watch.
‘Challenges’ and ‘opportunities’ are definitely the watchwords in