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Durban port upgrade and expansion project, South Africa

31st May 2019

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor


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Name of the Project
Durban port upgrade and expansion project.

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

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

Project Description
The Port of Durban handles about 64% of the country’s seaborne cargo, with the Durban Container Terminal (DCT) being the biggest and busiest in the southern hemisphere.

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 aims to increase the capacity of the terminal to 2.4-million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). This includes the Salisbury Island project, also known as the Pier 1 Phase 2 Infill project.

The TNPA also plans to deepen berths 203 to 205 at the DCT, which could raise the capacity of Pier 2 from 2.4-million TEUs to 2.9-million TEUs.

The berths will be deepened from 12.8 m to 16.5 m and lengthened from 914 m to 1 210 m to enable the DCT to handle three 350 m vessels simultaneously. The projects are expected to increase the DCT’s capacity from 3.6-million TEUs to about 5.3-million TEUs.

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.

At Maydon Wharf, six berths – 1 to 4 and 13 to 14 – are being rebuilt and deepened. Once completed, the berths will have a draught of 14.5 m, enabling them to handle vessels with draughts up to 13 m, making these berths the deepest in the Port of Durban. However, the Maydon Wharf access channel will still need to be deepened to allow for deeper-draught vessels to sail in fully laden. The project to rebuild and repair all six berths at Maydon Wharf had been expected to be completed by 2018.

Transnet is further proposing the phased development of the so-called Durban Dig-Out Port (DDOP) on the old Durban International Airport (DIA) site, among other projects.

Potential Job Creation
Not stated.

Capital Expenditure
The project forms part of Transnet’s larger R340-billion to R380-billion ten-year rolling Market Demand Strategy.

Funding for the new dig-out port at the DIA has not been included in the strategy.

Planned Start/End Date

Latest Developments
Transnet has said that its contractor, CMI Emtateni Joint Venture (JV), has terminated its R4.2-billion contract for a megaproject to create deeper berths at the DCT.

This comes after Transnet stopped all the works on the project in November last year and launched a probe into the contract after receiving an unsolicited report from private investigator Paul O'Sullivan's Forensics for Justice, with allegations of procurement irregularities on the project. 

Allegations in O'Sullivan and Sarah-Jane Trent's report centred around issues of fraud, black economic-empowerment (BEE) fronting and collusion between the Transnet employees and suppliers.

In September last year, Transnet awarded the main marine package of the R7-billion DCT Berth Deepening project to CMI Emtateni JV to create deeper berths at the DCT's North Quay.

CMI Emtateni JV comprises of an Italian construction company, CMC di Ravenna and CMI Infrastructures, with former Greytown mayor Philani Mavundla's CMI Infrastructures as a BEE partner.

The upgrade and expansion of the berth will enable the port to accommodate newer generation container vessels by 2023.

Transnet has said that the "stop all the works" instruction was to afford it time and space to conduct its own internal forensic investigation into the allegations. 

However, on February 20 this year, Transnet said the contractor issued a "notice of termination" as they may choose to do in accordance with the contract.

"In the best interest of both parties, Transnet accepted the contractor's notice of termination and issued CMI Emtateni JV a termination certificate on the 16 April 2019," the company said.

"Transnet’s internal forensic investigations are still ongoing and have not been concluded. Transnet is currently reassessing a way forward on the main marine contract scope of works in order to minimise any further delays in realizing the benefits of the project."

Key Contracts and Suppliers
Protekon Consulting & Construction; CPS; IMPSA-Jikelele joint venture (JV); Kalmar African National Engineering 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 (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 (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); Liebherr (design, fabrication, delivery, erection, testing and commissioning of the cranes); Stefanutti Stocks AXSYS JV (Maydon Wharf – main contractor), Aveng Grinaker-LTA (electrical installation of nine harbour tugs); Lovemore Mechanical (rigging and machine moving services) and Bosch Projects (shiploaders upgrade).

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

Contact Details for Project Information
TNPA acting corporate affairs manager Nompumelelo Kunene, tel +27 31 361 8973 or email



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