Port of Durban

The Port of Durban, commonly called Durban Harbour, is the largest and busiest shipping terminal in sub-Saharan Africa. It handles up to 31.4 million tons of cargo each year.

The Port of Durban in Durban, South Africa is the fourth largest container terminal in the Southern Hemisphere, handling 2,568,124 TEU in 2012.

Below is an engraving of the sea approach to the entrance to the Bay of Natal, showing the Bluff to the left and the thickly bushed Point to the right.

Port statistics

  • Durban is the busiest port in South Africa and generates more than 60% of revenue.
  • It is the second largest container port in Africa (after Port Said in Egypt).
  • It is the fourth largest container port in Southern Hemisphere. (First is Jakarta in Indonesia, second is Surabaya in Indonesia, third is Santos in Brazil).
  • The distance around the port is 21 kilometres.
  • Rail tracks total 302 kilometres.
  • The port has 58 berths which are operated by more than 20 terminal operators.
  • Over 4500 commercial vessels call at the port each year.

Harbour entrance depth

The entrance channel had a depth of 12.8 metres from Chart Datum, and a width of 122 metres between the caissons. The port has recently been widened. The harbor entrance depth is now 19 metres in the approach channel decreasing to 16 metres within the harbour. The new navigation width is 220 metres.

Port facilities

Berths

The maximum permissible draft listed for the berths serves as a guide for the planning of vessels. The following is a table of drafts as updated 7 June 2000. The Port Captain should be advised timeously to arrange fresh soundings. If a vessel is loaded to maximum, the Port Captain should be consulted for safety.

  • Pier No. 1 Berth
  • Pier No. 2 Berth
  • Point and T-Jetty Berth
  • Cross Berth
  • Island View
  • Bluff Berth
  • Bayhead Berth
  • Maydon Wharf Berth

Port operations

Durban Car Terminal is a modern, World class facility. It opened in 1998, with a capacity of 60,000 vehicles a year. In 2004 a 100-million-Rand expansion brought the number of bays to 6,500. This included a 380m bridge linking the terminal to the quayside, improving vessel turnaround time and improving security.

Berths lengths & draughts

The terminal facilities comprise a 366-metre quay with a depth alongside of 10.9 metres. This dedicated berth (Q/R) is able to accommodate the largest deep-sea car carriers.

Storage & stacking

The quay is backed by 8.5 hectares (21 acres) of surface storage with logistical road and rail access, vehicle inspection facilities and administrative block, with a state of the art cargo tracking system, CCTV surveillance monitoring, all surrounded by floodlit security fencing. The new three storey car park with bridge linking quayside to terminal, increases the capacity to 6 631 bays, increasing throughput capacity from 60,000 to 120,000 units a year.

Naval facilities

Naval Base Durban, situated on Salisbury Island, is part of the Port of Durban. Established during the Second World War, it was downgraded to a naval station in 2002. In 2012 a decision was made to renovate and expand the facilities back up to a full naval base to accommodate the South African Navy‘s offshore patrol flotilla. In December 2015 it was redesignated a naval base. It is the home port of three Warrior-class interim offshore patrol vessels (formerly missile-armed fast attack craft) which will be replaced by a new patrol flotilla within four to five years.

Summary:

Naval Base Durban, built during the Second World War, was scaled down to a naval station in 2002 with the rationalisation of the fleet. In April 2013 it was announced that the base would be re-opened and upgraded to assist with the piracy mission on Africa’s East coast and to establish a permanent fleet presence on the East Coast. In December 2015 it was redesignated a naval base. Naval Station Port Elizabeth – provides support to the fleet.

(Source: Port of Durban)

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