R255 million ‘green’ building opened

2017-07-05 06:01
The new 10 000 square metre administration building at the Port of Ngqura, named eMendi.Photo:SUPPLIED

The new 10 000 square metre administration building at the Port of Ngqura, named eMendi.Photo:SUPPLIED

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AN investment boost of R255 million for the Eastern Cape Province economy, in the form of a world-class administration building, is now open for business.

The Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) at the Port of Ngqura has officially opened its new five storey administration building known as eMendi.

The building was revealed by TNPA Chief Executive, Richard Vallihu, Chief Operating Officer, Phyllis Difeto and Ngqura Port Manager, Tandi Lebakeng at a special event attended by the port employees recently.

The name was chosen in reference to the SS Mendi troopship that sunk in the English Channel 100 years ago carrying well over 800 servicemen, the majority of whom were black South Africans.

TNPA Chief Executive, Richard Vallihu said the new 10 000 square metre building would cater for Ngqura’s growing human resources as the port continues to expand.

“Ngqura is positioning itself as a major container transhipment hub for sub-Saharan Africa and an important link connecting trade between South America and Asia.” Such capital expenditure forms part of TNPA’s contribution to Transnet’s Market Demand Strategy which is now in its fifth year of implementation.

“This is not just a staff building but a platform for us to provide effective, efficient and economic port services at the Port of Ngqura. Transnet builds localisation into each of its contracts in order to foster economic growth and create jobs, and this project has certainly done so in the Eastern Cape,” he said.

Vallihu added that other projects within a recent R700 million capacity installation investment at Ngqura included construction of the port’s administration craft basin for pilot boats and tugboats, and the vacuum based automated mooring system which they introduced as a first for an African port.

Ngqura Port Manager, Tandi Lebakeng said the new administration building was still on track for a 4-star green rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA).

“We are very proud of this truly world-class building that is poised to become one of the premier ‘green’ buildings in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality,” she said.

The Green building concepts incorporated in the design include rainwater harvesting, solar panels and light motion sensors in certain areas.

The building’s large window areas allow it to take advantage of the port’s panoramic views and natural lighting flowing into the building thereby reducing the need for electrical lighting.

Lebakeng explained that 154 jobs had been created during the construction phase of the admin building and admin craft basin.

“Forty eight of these jobs have been created for black youth, while 285 skills Eastern Cape employees are also benefiting from skills development programmes associated with these projects.

“In addition, 15 SMMEs in the Eastern Cape have been engaged to provide materials, equipment and services which is a further injection into the local economy,” she said.

A lime kiln, dating back some 65 years is located outside the port side of the atrium and has been declared a heritage site.

The next milestone at the port would be the opening of its R332 million administration craft basin scheduled for completion later this year. This new facility at the root of the eastern breakwater in the port basin will allow for docking of marine craft such as pilot boats and tugboats, as well as various vessels belonging to SAPS and SANPARKS.

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