Durban port upgrade and expansion project, South Africa

25th September 2020 By: Sheila Barradas - Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

Durban port upgrade and expansion project, South Africa

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, 204 and 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 at the old Durban International Airport (DIA) site, besides 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
Another eight new electric straddle carriers have arrived at the DCT Pier 2 fully assembled, completing the terminal’s order of 23 for the current calendar year.

This followed the delivery of 13 of the electric straddle carriers in August.

The straddle carriers boast improved drive technology, starting reliability, maintainability, safety, usability and ergonomics. They also enable a computer application to read data from the control system through Ethernet – providing comprehensive detail on statistics, real-time performance data and operational reports.

Pier 2 terminal manager Zamo Ngcobo has said that the arrival of the straddle carriers, fully assembled, is a move that will result in improvements in operations within a short time.

Commissioning and endurance testing still need to be conducted, with handover estimated in early October.

Complementing the equipment boost is the increased number of resources working the vessels, a new terminal structure, technological advancements for better decision-making and the implementation of a mandatory truck appointment system.

A further 22 straddle carriers are on order and are expected to arrive between March and May 2021.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
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