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Durban port upgrade and expansion project, South Africa

14th August 2015

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor


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Name and Location
Durban port upgrade and expansion project, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

The Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and Transnet Port Terminals (TPT), divisions of freight logistics company Transnet.

Project Description
The Durban Container Terminal (DCT) is the biggest and busiest in the southern hemisphere and currently handles 64% of the country’s seaborne container traffic.

Transnet is implementing an ambitious expansion project at the Durban port and its container terminals, comprising several individual work packages, to increase the DCT’s container-handling capacity.

The main projects include the expansion of the DCT Pier 1, which will increase the capacity of the terminal to 1.2-million TEUs by 2016/17.

In addition, the North quay at DCT Pier 2 will be extended to increase capacity to 3.3-million TEUs by 2017/18.

Container capacity is also being created at other terminals, such as the Durban Ro-Ro and Maydon Wharf terminals, through the acquisition of new equipment, including mobile cranes and various infrastructure upgrades.

Transnet is further proposing the phased development of a new dig-out port on the old Durban International Airport (DIA) site, among other projects.

The project forms part of an initial five-year R110.5-billion capital expenditure programme until 2015/16 and the group’s larger R312.2-billion (from R307.5-billion) seven-year Market Demand Strategy (MDS) until 2018/19.

However, funding for the new port at the DIA is not included in the strategy.

Transnet has indicated that it is in the final stages of appointing a transaction adviser and is considering various funding options and models for private-sector participation in the project.


Latest Developments
In July this year the TNPA announced that Durban’s ageing dry dock would be closed for two months while it completed repairs worth R30-million to its badly corroded outer caisson.

Deputy port engineer Dumisani Mkhize said during a press briefing in Durban in July that routine maintenance had revealed that it was in “a severe state of “structural disrepair”.

He said it had been decommissioned and moved to the back of the dry dock. The tank section was removed and completely rebuilt to its “original design condition”.

The poor state of the dry dock has been attributed to its age, as well as to maintenance and upgrades not having been high on the TNPA priority list until now.

Reapirs, which will take four months, have been structured so that the dry dock itself is out of commission only during August and September. It will reopen on October 6.

TNPA expects the Durban dry dock outer caisson repair to be completed in November. This will then replace the relocated inner caisson. It will be commissioned when the next vessel departs from the dry dock in November.

Durban-based Channel Construction, which has won the tender for the project, will work 24-hour shifts, with the bulk of the work being conducted off-site at its Bayhead workshop.

The refurbishment will include demolition and waste disposal, structural repair, welding, modification and replacement of structural members and plates, design and fabrication certification, commissioning and final handover.

The repair of the caisson marks the beginning of further investment in the Durban dry dock, which has been earmarked as a job creator and business generator through the revitalisation of the ship repair industry in Durban.

The dry dock’s current market includes cargo vessels and TNPA’s own fleet of marine vessels.

The dry dock accommodated just 37 vessels in 2014, but this is expected to increase with upcoming investments.

These will include a concrete refurbishment programme, replacing crane rails and two two aged electrical overheard cranes, and the refurbishment of the inner caisson.

New Jib cranes, upgrading the mechanical pumphouse, replacing workshop equipment and the non-operational floating dock, installing as well as procuring six compressors, are also planned.

The TNPA has identified projects valued at R16.8-billion to facilitate the growth of the local ship repair, ship building and oil and gas sectors. All should be operational by 2019.

To refurbish existing ship-repair facilities, TNPA will invest about R2.2-billion in mechanical, electrical and civil infrastructure upgrades at the ports of Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Mossel Bay.

Greenfield projects worth R14.6-billion will include new capacity creation at the ports of Saldanha Bay, Richards Bay and East London. These will be cofunded through public–private partnerships.

Meanwhile, the SSAXSYS joint venture (JV), a JV between construction group Stefanutti Stocks and enterprise development partner AXSYS Infrastructure, has set the completion date for construction at Maydon Wharf for December 2016. The project contract was signed on April 7, 2014, with construction starting on site in May 2014.

The project aims to replace the existing sheet pile quay walls at Maydon Wharf (berths 1 to 4, 13 and 14) that are at risk of collapsing, while upgrading the berths to accommodate more modern, larger ships.

The upgrade will partially entail dredging the seabed in front of the new quay walls down to –16 m below mean sea level, and then placing scour rock in front of the new quay wall to achieve a final finished depth of -14.5 m below Chart Datum level. The scour rock is a critical element in the new construction – without it, ship propellers will scour the seabed and create holes that will compromise the structural integrity of the new walls.

Owing to the risk of the existing quay wall collapsing during construction, the construction sequence requires the demolition and removal of material directly behind the wall to reduce the active pressures exerted on the structure and prevent failure of the system.

Meanwhile, upgrading the berth will require a phased approach, with limited construction access minimising disruption to the available quay space at the Port of Durban, which is already below capacity.

Key Contracts and Suppliers
Protekon Consulting & Construction; CPS; IMPSA-Jikelele joint venture (JV); Kalmar African National Engineering, or ANE, JV; Hydroflow and Liebherr Cranes (Germany); Grinaker-LTA, Interbeton and Bafokeng Bateman Services (Bafokeng Civil Works and Bateman Materials Handling) JV; DSE and Dorbyl (subcontractors steelwork fabrication); La Spezia Container Terminal, Italy (three Liebherr cranes); Kalmar (straddle carriers); DSE (manufacture of structural components and the erection and installation of mechanical and electrical work); Protekon (planning and designing the infrastructure for the installation of the Liebherr cranes at the south terminal); Protekon Construction (two new berths for Island View terminal); Dura Piling (piling contract – Island View); Basil Read (main contractor – Pier 1, civil and paving works – DCT); Chryso South Africa (concrete products – hard standing area, Pier 1); Lafarge Readymix (design and supply of concrete – hard standing area, Pier 1); Natal Portland Cement, or NPC (cement – Pier 1); Kalmar Industries (30 straddle carriers); TBA (review, analysis and simulation of DCT’s container-handling operations); Sarens Group (crawler crane); the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (loan finance); Shanghai Zhenhua Port Machinery Company (rail-mounted gantry cranes); Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co, or  ZPMC (design, manufacture, delivery and commissioning of cranes); Dredging International and Group Five (port-widening project); C3 Shared Services (codesign of security solution at Pier 1); Mott MacDonald, in JV with Hatch and Goba (widening of Durban harbour entrance and construction of Pier 1 container terminal); Blue IQ (financial coordinator for proposed container terminal at the old DIA site); and Liebherr (design, fabrication, delivery, erection, testing and commissioning of the cranes).

On Budget and on Time?
The project is on schedule and within budget.

Contact Details for Project Information
ANE Durban head office, tel +27 31 579 3301, fax +27 31 579 3323 or email
Basil Read, tel +27 11 418 6375 or fax +27 11 418 6334.
Bateman, tel +27 11 899 9111 or email
Chryso South Africa, tel +27 11 395 9700 or fax +27 11 397 6644.
Dorbyl, tel +27 41 408 6009, fax +27 41 408 6035 or email
Dredging International, tel +32 3 250 52 11, fax +32 3 250 56 50 or email
DSE, tel +27 11 871 4111 or fax +27 11 871 4141.
Grinaker-LTA, tel +27 11 578 6000, fax +27 11 578 6161 or email
Group Five, tel +27 11 806 0111, fax +27 11 803 5520 or email
Kalmar Industries, tel +27 31 327 1800 or fax +27 31 327 1811.
Lafarge Readymix, tel +27 31 275 7400.
NPC, tel +27 31 450 4411 or fax +27 31 451 9010.
Sarens Group, Hendrik Sarens, tel +32 52 319 397 or email
Transnet Port Terminals, tel + 27 31 308 8000 or fax +27 31 308 8084.
ZPMC, tel + 86 21 58396666, fax +86 21 58399555 or email

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter




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