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Top 10 Africa Ports

by ASC Staff on May 12, 2008

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Africa's ports have made huge progress in recent years, with massive benefits being reaped through successful port management partnerships. Inclusion in ArabianSupplyChain's Top Ten Ports is based not only on throughput but also on improvements and investment plans.

Durban, South Africa

Durban is Africa's busiest general cargo port and home to one of the largest and busiest container terminals in the Southern Hemisphere. The port has a total of 59 effective berths excluding those used by fishing vessels and ship repair. A single buoy mooring at Isipingo caters for very large crude carriers (VLCC) that are too large to enter the port.

In response to demand the port of Durban is creating more container handling facilities including a second container terminal, but space will continue to be reserved for breakbulk and bulk cargo. The port has excellent rail and road links to neighbouring industrial zones and hinterland.

The largest ships to have entered Durban harbour are in the region of 230,000 dwt but even larger vessels are catered for in the outer anchorage. The port operates a fleet of tugs owned and operated by the National Ports Authority (NPA), which handle in excess of 800 ship movements each month.

Dredging is performed by the NPA on an ongoing basis in the port and immediately outside the entrance to counter the littoral drift that would otherwise recreate a sand bar across the entrance channel.

Durban has two floating cranes. Indlovu has a lifting capacity of 235 tonnes at 10m and 125t from 24m. The smaller Imvubu has a lifting capacity of 60 tonnes at 6.1m or 40.6t at 16.2m from the outboard edge.

The port of Durban handles the greatest volume of sea-going traffic of any port in southern Africa. For the 2005/06 financial year the port handled a total of 4551 sea-going ships with a gross tonnage of 94,543,236, which was equal to almost 36% of all ports combined.



Cargo handled amounted to 42,668,119 tonnes, which included oil and petroleum products. This tonnage however excludes containers, of which 1.956 million TEUs were handled in Durban last year, and may be calculated as the equivalent of 26,406,000 tonnes which, included with the gross figure above, gives the port a total tonnage of 69,074 million tonnes of cargo handled.

Total tonnage handled by the port (including the calculation for containers) constituted 43,584,358 tonnes of imports, 25,206,730 tonnes of exports and 283,371 tonnes of transhipment cargo.

Last year the combined Durban container terminals handled 1,955,803 TEUs. Containers handled at Durban represented 63% of the total number of containers handled at South African ports.

Extensive ship repair facilities consist of a graving dock divided by two compartments with a total length of 352.04m and a width of 33.52m at the top, split into an inner dock of 138.68m and an outer dock of 206.9m and serviced by up to five electric cranes from 50t to 10t. Bayhead has two general repair quays in addition to several privately operated and fully equipped repair facilities. The port also boasts two floating docks - one operated by the NPA with an overall length of 109m, a width of 23.34m and a displaced lifting capacity of 4500 tonnes, serviced by two 5-tonne capacity cranes. The second floating dock has a lifting capacity of 8500 tonnes.


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