A superior product that promises operational efficiencies, such as Kumba’s ore, demands a highly efficient logistics environment to meet customers’ production timelines. While Kumba does not own the full rail line from mine to port, the company is increasingly involved in the logistics value chain to ensure that it delivers on its stated aim of being a value-adding iron ore supplier to its customers. The port at Saldanha Bay is the only dedicated iron ore export facility in South Africa and is larger than the country’s other four major ports combined. Its rail link to Sishen and Kolomela mines makes it the gateway of choice for exporting seaborne iron ore to Kumba’s international customers.
Every day of the week, iron ore from Sishen mine arrives at Saldanha Bay by rail. The 861km rail system that links the Sishen mine to the dedicated deepwater port and bulk loading facilities is among the most efficient and advanced logistical systems in the world.Owned and operated by Transnet (the South African parastatal transport company), the system is regarded as a model of integrated planning and cooperation between the public and private sectors in South Africa. Transnet committed to expanding the Sishen-Saldanha iron ore export channel to 60Mtpa; 9Mtpa of which has been allocated to Kumba’s new Kolomela mine. This was achieved ahead of schedule in 2011.
The iron ore export channel expansion represented a capital investment of over R4 billion in real terms by Transnet for additional rolling stock, upgrading the electricity infrastructure, and a 36km rail link. Massive trains of 34 200 tonnes leave the mines every nine hours, these trains have five to six locomotives and 342 wagons. The rail line is fully signalled at the traffic control office at the port, and traffic is managed via microwave and VHF radio systems.
Wagons containing ore are transported to the Tippler at the Bulk Terminal at the port, where they are offloaded in pairs without decoupling. The Tippler can handle up to 114 wagons at a time, and it is housed in a building designed to extract dust generated during offloading. From the Tippler, ore is transported via conveyor belt to the stockpiles, onto an ore vessel waitingin the harbour, or to the ArcelorMittal South Africa Saldanha Steel Stockpile.
Significant capital has been spent to increase iron ore exports from the deep-water port to meet the growing demand for South Africa’s high-quality iron ore. Infrastructure is set to further expand as the port is gearing up to increase capacity on the rail line in the future.Current infrastructure at the port comprises two rotary Tipplers, four stacker reclaimers, two shiploaders and 25 conveying systems, providing the terminal with a capacity to offload 10 000 tonnes per hour onto a vessel. Operating 24/7, the ore quay at Saldanha has two berths where two vessels of 310 000 DWT can simultaneously berth at the iron ore jetty.
Kumba has always produced high-quality ore and been able to assure its customers of rigorous sampling at the mine before their order isdispatched. Now, in order to certify its properties through the line, Kumba has added a new link to the supply chain: the independent Saldanha Fully Automated Sampling Plant. This state-of-theart facility was established to enable Kumba to independently certify the quality of its products loaded for export.
While the facility is integral to Kumba’s commitment to adding value to the ore it delivers, the laboratory itself is managed and operated by an independent party. The soon-to-be ISO-accredited independent laboratory enables final quality to be determined at load port and meet global contract standards. Kumba is an accredited ISO9001 producer, with a laboratory aimed at ISO17025 accreditation in the port. The company also enjoys ISO18000 and ISO14001 environmental accreditation.
Saldanha Port Operations at a glance
The ore quay at Saldanha has two berths where two vessels of 310 000 DWT can simultaneously tie up at the iron ore jetty
From arrival to departure – including piloting, berthing, loading, draft survey and deberthing– an ore vessel carrying 170 000 tonnes will be in Saldanha Bay for just 24 hours. A vessel carrying 210 000 tonnes will spend 32 hours in the port, while a vessel carrying 240 000 tonnes of ore will be there for 48 hours.
Saldanha Bay Port is bigger than Durban, Cape Town’s Table Bay, Richards Bay and Port Elizabeth’s harbours combined.
Saldanha Port Operations submits an annual Environmental Report in line with the Global Reporting Initiative. It respects that it is located
in an ecologically sensitive area, and takes all measures possible to manage the area responsibly.
In 2011, 37,1Mt of iron ore was exported by Kumba from Saldanha Bay to customers in countries and regions around the world.
Physical address Port of Saldanha Saldanha 7395