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Durban port upgrade and expansion project, South Africa

7th August 2020

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
The DCT Pier 2 has taken delivery of a further 13 electric straddle carriers, improving the availability and reliability of equipment across waterside, landside and rail operations.

The DCT Pier 2 now has 15 new electric straddle carriers that are planned for commissioning and handover to operations in August.

The remaining eight will also be arriving in August to complete the full order for the current calendar year. 

The investment is a direct response to industry calls and Transnet Port Terminals’ (TPT's) commitment to improved service at the largest container operation in the southern hemisphere.

The eighth-generation equipment arrived fully assembled and features improved drive technology, starting reliability, maintainability, safety, usability and ergonomics, as well as an ability for a computer application to read data from the control system through Ethernet – providing comprehensive detail on statistics, real-time performance data and operational reports.  

“Observing the necessary governance processes in acquiring these assets . . . was necessary although it may have seemed like a long wait. Even while we waited, our employees were giving us 100% effort despite ageing equipment and challenges posed by Covid-19,” Pier 2 terminal manager Zamo Ngcobo has said.

He has added that TPT is confident of new performance records at DCT with the boost in operational equipment.

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).

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




Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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