Durban port upgrade and expansion project, South Africa

6th March 2015

Durban port upgrade and expansion project, South Africa

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 from 700 000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) to 820 000 TEUs by 2013 and eventually to 1.2-million TEUs by 2016/17.

In addition, the North quay at DCT Pier 2 will be extended to increase the capacity from 2.1-million TEUs in 2011/12 to 2.5-million TEUs by 2013/14 and 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.

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
The TNPA has committed to spending R17-billion on infrastructure upgrades at the Port of Durban by 2023.

In a briefing on current projects that have begun or are about to get under way at the port, Port of Durban manager Moshe Motlohi says long-term plans are extensive and include the development of a fifth berth at Bayhead, as well as the introduction of new services.

He says progress is being made on the nine megacapital expenditure projects that are being implemented. Construction of the sand pumpstation at Berth A Island View is almost complete. This is imperative to keep the port channel clear of sand and to ensure that the deepened port channel into the port is not lost.

Also at Island View, the deepening of Berth 2 from a draught of 11.7 m to 14.5 m is under way. Berths 5 and 6 at Island View will also be deepened to accommodate larger vessels.

Motlohi has confirmed that two projects are under way at the strategic multipurpose facility at Maydon Wharf. He says that, although the easiest option would have been to simply close off the area during construction, this is a highly sensitive area and the economy can not cope with its closure from a food security point of view. Instead, work on the berths will be phased with work on berths 1 to 4 and 12 to 14 already under way. 

“Vessels have overtaken us,” he declares, explaining that berth draughts will be deepened to 16.5 m and quay walls strengthened to accommodate fully laden larger container vessels.

A slightly more controversial plan to provide between 940 m and 1.2 km of extra space to accommodate fully laden vessels is expected to start by mid-2016 with completion expected by December 2020.

TNPA has received two objections to its environmental-impact assessment (EIA) for the project from the South Durban Environmental Alliance and Earthlife Africa, which need to be addressed. However, he says he hopes this will not derail the process and that people will realise the strategic importance of this project.

Bigger cranes are needed to unload larger ships and the necessary support and deeper berths are needed to accommodate these.
Turning to the construction of the proposed container terminal at Salisbury Island, Motlohi outlines that work on Pier 1 Phase 2, which involves the reclamation of 21 ha and the deepening of berths to the required 16.5 m, is at feasibility stage.
Once the design has been completed, the EIA process will begin, with construction expected to begin before 2021. This will provide two extra berths.

If throughput is increased, infrastructure serving the port will also need to be upgraded. Bayhead road will have to be upgraded from a two-lane to a three-lane road on either side, while Langeberge road will be widened from one to two lanes. In addition, new gates to the port will have to be built on both thoroughfares.

Motlohi states that it is evident that the number of cruise liners calling on the Port of Durban is steadily increasing. The number of passengers last year was 178 373 and had been growing steadily for some time. The current operational area is experiencing congestion and is not world-class. “We will be moving this to a new site (alongside the Point Waterfront) where a container terminal will dovetail with the entertainment precinct. Passengers will then be able to access uShaka Marine World and the beachfront. We want this to sell Durban,” he says.

Currently, tenders have been received and are being adjudicated, he confirms.

TNPA has also begun attending to problems at Durban’s dry dock where “things are not functioning the way they should be”. He says TNPA has realised that good technical capabilities are needed and has appointed nine engineers and a naval architect to plug this gap.

These upgrades, he notes, are expected to have a major impact on the port. It is expected that 53 000 direct employment opportunities will be created, as well as 50 000 jobs within port-dependent sectors. The upgrade of Pier 1 Phase 2 alone will create 19 000 jobs during the construction phase.

Presenting on progress at Durban’s proposed dig-out port, project head Mark Desoins responded to mounting criticism that it was not needed, by stating categorically that TNPA needed to re-enforce the fact that South Africa needed an additional facility and that, after studying ten possible locations, had found that the old airport site remained the most suitable and cost effective.

Despite having invested more than R150-million in preproject studies, he said TNPA was yet to find a single fatal flaw in the project.
He predicted that the dig-out port would be needed by 2025 when the current port ran out of container capacity. Phase 1 of the dig-out port will add 600 000 TEUs/y to Durban’s container capacity but is scalable upwards.

Current projections, which are based on gross domestic product growth, have factored in economic challenges that will delay the project such as load-shedding. However, it has not factored in possible radical increases in transshipment cargoes, as international shippers were now beginning to avoid using the Suez Canal.

The first phase of the new port could be operation by 2026. “We can’t wait until 2024 to decide [if we need it]. Then we will be out of capacity for another ten years,” he warns.

The next steps that need to be taken include the finalisation of funding for the project, further land acquisition and the choice of a terminal operator. He says there has been considerable interest from international port operators.

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