The differing fender systems were installed at different times as each additional berth was completed, commencing in 2009 and extending to around 2015.
Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has since decided that all fenders should be of the same type. This involves replacing about half of the existing fender systems, all still relatively new.
The local firm of Stefanutti Stocks Coastal was entrusted with the works contract and has taken delivery of 15 sets of Element Fender Systems from the manufacturer, ShibataFenderTeam (SFT). Each fender measures 1000mm x 1200mm, with steel panels measuring 2800mm x 4000mm.
Ten of the systems have been installed along the berths, and another five sets are being kept in stock at the port as spare parts.
The tender for this project was issued in early 2021 and after the order was confirmed in July 2021, SFT effected delivery in Ngqura in February this year.
Since then SFT’s local representitave collected rubber samples from the fenders on site in order for an independent laboratory to perform a TGA test, this being a Thermogravimetric Analysis which is used for traceability – it is performed to verify that the final fender was produced from the same compound which was used to verify the physical properties of the lab samples.
The port of Ngqura is capable of handling 12,500-TEU size loaded container ships – the only local port with that capability. Ngqura is situated in Algoa Bay and is subject to significant long wave effects and strong winds, particularly in the winter months.
These conditions frequently cause berthed vessels to move excessively and impacts on cargo operations, safety and the port’s efficiency.
Cavotec Mooring Units
In 2015 26 mooring units were installed at the container terminal to meet the specific environmental conditions of the port.
The Cavotec automated mooring system (AMS) was designed to complement manual berthing teams by stabilising container vessels on the quayside “at the click of a button, reducing docking and undocking times from between 10 and 40 minutes to less than 10 seconds,” the then TNPA Chief Executive, Richard Vallihu told Africa Ports & Ships.
The vacuum based automated mooring technology was the first in the South African port system. It operates by means of pneumatic AMS units that can move both vertically and horizontally due to wind and wave actions and also ‘walk’ up and down the vessel to accommodate tidal variations.
TNPA said then that a unique capability of the AMS is that the vessel will be kept almost static whilst alongside the quay with minimal movements of up to 50mm only. This, it said, is made possible by the unique design of the pneumatic AMS units that can move both vertically and horizontally due to wind and wave actions and also “walk” up and down the vessel to accommodate tidal variations.