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The port of East London handles its first shipment of export manganese

Home Transport & Logistics Exports & Imports The port of East London handles its first shipment of export manganese

THE city of East London received its first export manganese call on Tuesday, October 3, when vessel MV BBG Leader docked to load 30,000 metric tons at the East London Multipurpose Terminal. In preparation, Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) has delivered 16 manganese trains to the terminal since July this year, with plans to fulfil 150,000 metric tons in the current financial year ending in March 2024.

The tonnage amounts to one vessel loading up to 40,000 metric tons of manganese per month, which will be via a skip-to-ship operation. The ship’s gear is used to pick up the skip for loading the manganese onto the vessel. Transnet is also exploring ramping up East London volumes to 500,000 metric tons from April next year.

As South Africa continues to increase its manganese exports each year, the need to create export capacity is in line with Transnet’s segmentation strategies prioritising seven commodities, among them manganese. Plans are underway to establish a dedicated manganese facility in Ngqura long-term with a capacity of 16 million tons. Currently, TFR rails export manganese from mines in the Northern Cape to the Port Elizabeth Bulk Terminal, the Saldanha Multipurpose Terminal and now the East London Terminal. Transnet Port Terminals says that it was important for the state-owned entity to respond to industry requests and enable miners to supply growing global demand.

One of South Africa’s top five manganese exporters, Tshipi é Ntle Manganese Mining, is the first to export manganese through East London’s Multipurpose Terminal. The company’s chief executive officer, Ezekiel Lotlhare said, “We pride ourselves in being part of this historic and significant milestone. Leveraging the capabilities of Transnet and Tshipi presents an opportunity to enhance manganese logistics operations, ensuring more efficient and environmentally responsible transportation of manganese from South Africa to other countries such as China, and India among others”.

He added that the partnership signified a new era in the industry. “By utilising Tshipi’s assets in conjunction with Transnet’s rail assets, infrastructure and the Multipurpose Terminal in East London, we are not only enhancing the efficiency of our operations but also reducing our environmental footprint and negative social impacts associated with road transport,” he concluded.

South Africa hosts about 75% of the world’s identified manganese resources, a commodity that has become a key additive in the manufacturing of steel products and, is more recently being used in the production of batteries.

It is not found as a free element in nature, but usually in combination with iron. Mined in the country’s largest province, the Northern Cape, manganese is without a substitute and rather lucrative, with China accounting for over 50% of global consumption, followed by India, Japan, Ukraine and South Korea. There have been many exploration and mining projects, policy developments as well as infrastructure developments in South Africa since 2004 to grow the industry.

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