Note: Several spellings exist for Coega. These include Ngqura, the Xhosa spelling which is used in the port of Ngqura Establishment Act and is the official spelling used by the National Ports Authority; Ngqurha, as has been used on occasion by the Department of Public Enterprises; and Coega which is that used by the Coega Development Corporation, the Industrial Development Zone and most other people. Other spellings include Cougha, Coecha, Koecha and Koega. The name is of Khoekhoen origin for the river of the same name and means 'ground water.' Coega is pronounced 'koo-gha, with a guttural sound forming the last syllable. To pronounce Ngqura correctly requires an ability to sound the click as used in Koekhoe and Xhosa.
port of Ngqura, now nearing completion (April 2006) some 20km northeast of
the port of Port Elizabeth, is South Africa's 8th and latest commercial port
development, and is situated at the mouth of the Coega River in Algoa Bay.
The National Ports Authority of SA is responsible for developing the
deepwater port. SA Port Operations (SAPO) has been appointed to handle the
terminal operations, at least in the initial stages.
The design vessels for the port are:
Dry Bulk Carriers
The horizontal geometry of the port is such that 150,00DWT bulkers and 6,500TEU cellular container ships can manoeuvre within the port, although initial dredging is being limited to accommodate the design vessels only.
The new port consists of a
main eastern breakwater, 2.7 km in length extending into Algoa Bay to a
maximum water depth of 18 metres, and a secondary western breakwater 1.125
km in length.
Funding of the entire port infrastructure is being provided by Transnet, of which the National Ports Authority (landlord) is a subsidiary division. Funding of the adjacent Industrial Development Zone is being provided by central and provincial government, with detail funding to come from private investors. Some R1.8 billion is to be spent by Eskom to upgrade the provision of electricity to the region for the development of an aluminium smelter, although this is now (2006) in some doubt following the inability of Eskom to maintain energy levels to the Western Cape.
Construction of a rail link between the Coega project and the existing Port Elizabeth - Gauteng main railway line has received approval and is underway. The existing railway line, as well as the N-2 road highway, pass through the Coega Industrial Development Zone.
In April 2006 tenders had still not been issued for the construction of the recommended two 55-tonne bollard pull Voith Schneider tugs similar to the five placed in service recently at Durban, Cape Town and Richards Bay. The contract was originally expected to be awarded in August 2003. There are however indications that a contract is to go to tender during mid 2006.
The impact of a new IDZ and
port at Coega/Ngqura on the Eastern Cape of South Africa will undoubtedly
prove of great benefit to an otherwise largely impoverished and undeveloped
region. However its impact on the nearby port of Port Elizabeth only 20 km
away remains unclear and Port Elizabeth harbour would have to re-develop for
certain cargo types only, such as the auto, fresh produce and fishing
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