The new structure will be home to the port’s three tugs and one pilot boat, thereby freeing up Berth C101, which was designed to handle revenue-generating vessels.
“Having had no facility to berth the tugs was always a limitation for the port in terms of revenue creation. This significant investment in infrastructure demonstrates the Transnet National Ports Authority’s (TNPA’s) confidence in the future capabilities of this expanding port,” said senior engineer Zanele Ntantala, who managed the project.
However, before the tugs can move to their new location, final completion of dredging will need to take place by the end April.
The long-term future development of the port was taken into account during the design of the ACB, while the position of the facility, located at the root of the Eastern Breakwater, allows unhindered developments in the long term, Ntantala added.
Construction – which was in the middle of an operational port – was done in the dry dock and took time, as the contractor had to build a temporal working platform and piles for the ACB Finger pier, which is a suspended concrete deck on piles.
The facility is made up of a 300-m-long breakwater armoured with rock and a 120-m-long Finger pier capable of handling six tugs or four tugs, a pilot boat and other small craft as per the current medium-term requirement.
Provision has also been made for the easy extension of the pier to accommodate two extra tugs should there be a need for more tugs in future.
The design of the ACB provides ample opportunities for easy construction to berth additional small craft such as tugs, South African National Parks and South African Police Service vessels in future, Ntantala added.