Tippler maintenance boosts Richards Bay harbour capacity
11 November 2020 | Web Article Number: ME202021190
AFTER a month of offloading cargo using excavators, planned maintenance works and upgrades have completed on tippler2 at the Richards Bay Bulk Terminal, strengthening handling capacity and plant reliability.
That’s according to Terminal Manager: Richards Bay Dry Bulk operations Reggie Mthembu, who said the second tippler had increased capacity from 74-ton wagons to 90-ton wagons with an ability to handle 18 wagons per hour.
While the tipplers remain strategic equipment for bulk operations, adjacent conveyor belts, loading and offloading quayside equipment also underwent planned electrical and mechanical maintenance, with civil works included during the scheduled time.
“With increased volumes across the magnetite and chrome commodities - planned maintenance is now a calendar event. It complements the technology investments and automation that we are embarking on to ensure we deliver on our mandate.”
He said the project came about in 2015, “during a time when the tipplers were breaking down and everybody was complaining. Yes, there were challenges that delayed the process, especially the COVID-19 pandemic but now Tippler 2 has been finally upgraded and next year we will be working on the refurbishing and upgrading of the Tippler 1”.
In the past, said Mthembu, there had been several incidents requiring reactive emergency works accompanied by unplanned expenditure, which often resulted in vessel delays due to the unreliability of equipment.
“Like any business especially under current conditions, protecting revenue is high up on the agenda, along with offering our customers superior value.”
He said they continued to focus on supply management at the terminal, effective stores management and contracts for repetitive services as well as quality vendor selection.
In addition, the terminal will in the next six months take delivery of a new transfer chute, a new conveyor belt, a multi-purpose loader and the extension of the railyard will be completed, able to accommodate additional wagons.
“The integrated planning and spirit of collaboration between the terminal and its customers has by far underpinned the successful execution of all major projects and maintenance schedules put forward to unlock Richards Bay’s capacity” said Mthembu.
Mbongi Qwabe from Palabora Mining Company said, “We are quite happy with the developments of Richards Bay. They remain a very good port for us to do business with. I would also like to applaud the terminal executive and the management as a whole for having an ear for us as customers. Every time we lodge a complaint, they are quick to gather and strategise and come up with solutions.”