Bosch Holdings was appointed as the consulting engineers for the design and project management of a new cane transloading station in Mkuze, after the completion of a feasibility study. The new facility will assist small-scale sugarcane farmers in Makhathini region, on the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal. The new rail side facility incorporates the design and installation of advanced equipment, including a new spiller, that is capable of offloading road vehicles at a rate of over 300 tons per hour, over a 24 hour period.
A decommissioned spiller was sourced, dismantled and totally refurbished to brand-new condition by the Bosch Engenharia team, the spiller was then shipped to Durban, where it arrived safely in record time, reducing the project timelines by six months. The spiller design has been upgraded by Bosch Engenharia engineers to have a pull-out force of 50 tons and the hooking bar has been modified to accommodate the dimensions of South African vehicles. Other modifications include conversion to a frequency of 50 Hz and a robust control system that is suitable for harsh outdoor agricultural conditions.
The Bosch Holdings team is proud to be part of this uplifting Mkuze initiative that will benefit nearly 2 000 Makhathini small-scale sugarcane farmers, by significantly improving throughput efficiency, by transportation of cane to the Felixton mill by rail, rather than road. From the beginning of the upcoming sugar season, cane grown in the Makhathini region will be transported by road to the new transloading facility at Mkuze and transferred by the spiller, from road trucks to rail wagons, for transportation to the Felixton mill – a distance of approximately 350 km.
This new facility will also assist sugarcane farmers in neighbouring areas who can soon transport their cane via rail from the Mkuze rail siding to uMfolozi and Pongola sugar mills.
With the new transloading station, small-scale farmers, who have been struggling with crippling transport expenses for some time, are expected to benefit from a total savings in operational costs of about R6,8-million per year. As cane production increases, Makhathini farmers delivering 350 000 tons of crops, could save about R16-million per year.
This initiative also presents opportunities for job creation during construction and operation of the rail siding. Another significant benefit will be a reduction in the volume of trucks on congested roads.