Vanguard's Port Facilities

Vanguard port facilities improves efficiencies and streamlines abnormal cargo movement in Africa


Many users of ports in the African region experience delays due to the poor integration of shipping with road transport, a challenge aggravated by most ports running close to capacity, according to Vanguard Director, Craig Pace.

“This highlights the importance of having an efficient link between vessels and heavy load transport, ensuring customers a quick and reliable passage of cargo from their arrival in our harbours to their destination,” said Pace. “The quality and cost of services that South Africa offers in our ports is therefore key to the country’s global competitiveness.”

As an important contributor to these high levels of service, leading international heavy-lift, specialised transport and plant installation company, Vanguard lifted over 42,000 tonnes and transported over 22,000 tonnes of break bulk items greater than 70 tonnes in their port facilities last year, being well represented by their facility in the Port of Richards Bay.

“To make the vital link between sea and road transport, customers require a comprehensive cargo-handling facility in the port and also capability to handle break bulk loads,” he said. Vanguard has extensive capacity at the port in Richards Bay, including a 4 000m² secure and operational handling and storage yard.

Richards Bay is SA's premier bulk port, built in 1976 for the export of coal but since then extending into other bulk and break bulk cargoes.

“Our storage yard facilities at the Port of Richards Bay make for greater efficiency, especially in terms of timeous discharging of vessels, lower mobilisation costs, and quicker access to the quayside,” said Pace.

Vanguard’s port facilities mean that no road permits or abnormal clearances are required between the quayside and the storage yard, further streamlining the process for customers.

“The cargo is received in a direct discharge and is relocated to a dedicated heavy load storage and handling area,” he said. “It can then be offloaded for temporary storage and loaded onto the transport trailers as required.”

Warehousing is another important aspect that affects efficiencies, he said, citing Vanguard’s warehousing and off-loading facilities in both Cape Town and Johannesburg, to assist with the off-loading of break bulk cargo, the destuffing of containers, storage and the transportation of cargo to site.

“Developing the most efficient engineered project solution for freight forwarders and shipping line customers also relies on matching our expertise and experience with the right equipment,” said Pace. “We employ a range of specialised equipment, including cranes, multi axle trailers and PSTs, which can be put to effective use in ports and beyond - right to the project sites. Steered remotely by the operator, the trailers are perfect for load-in and load-out barging operations, and have capacity in excess of 1,000 tonnes.”