Embarking on the development of the largest sugar terminal in the world, this silo vouches for the growth and confidence of the local sugar industry as an exporter in the 1960s.
Constrained by site limitations alongside the wharf, the 250-metre long and 27-metre high barrel vault could not precisely echo the profile of a sugar pile, resulting in the bent profile, the lower portion retaining the pile. Following the ‘three-pin, tied arch’ structural principle, 3 000 precast concrete scalloped sections, each three metres wide, make up the 80 arches, which are kept in place by post-tensioned cables threaded through the ribs. Built alongside the wharf, the arches rest on edge beams, which are themselves supported by steel roller bearings affixed to the caps of the deep caisson piles. The use of neoprene synthetic rubber resolved the constructional and operational challenge of keeping the “giant sugar bowl” dry in the face of the humid sub-tropical climate and the structure’s proximity to the sea.
Guided tours of the South African Sugar Terminal feature a fascinating wide screen film presentation on the production, processing and refinement of sugar. Sugar terminal tours run daily at 08h30, 10h00, 11h30, and 14h30, however no tours are conducted on Fridays.