BP unveils R140m rail facility
Johannesburg - BP SA on Tuesday launched one of Africa's largest rail gantries, marking the completion of its R140m expansion project.
The oil group also said it planned further investment to boost its storage tank capacity.
The rail loading and offloading gantry seeks to improve the security of supply for the company's petroleum products from the coast to its inland customers.
BP SA CEO Sipho Maseko said this facility would play a major role in addressing the capacity deficit caused by pipeline constraints, as it provided another option for the company to move its products from ports to inland areas.
An estimated pipeline deficit of 10 million litres per week across the industry was predicted for 2011. According to experts, if BP SA's new rail were fully leveraged it could meet up to 60% of the industry shortfall.
Maseko said the project, which took 23 months to complete, would significantly improve the transport by rail of BP fuel to Gauteng, Mpumalanga, North West and Limpopo.
"The gantry will assist us to cope with increased fuel demands in the future. We are now able to decant 36 tankers at a time instead of 20, which increases offloading capacity by a significant 80%," he said.
Maseko also said the company planned to invest further in the current year, installing an additional 10 million litre diesel storage tank at the same depot later this year.
Construction of this storage tank would commence during the second half of the year.
Maseko said the investment in new infrastructure and storage aimed to ease the fuel supply challenges facing SA.