South African authorities have reportedly devised a USD 7 billion-plan for the modernization of the Port of Durban. The initiative looks to enhance the site’s efficiency and reclaim its standing as Africa’s best-performing port.
According to reports, Cyril Ramaphosa, the President of South Africa, announced the government’s plans to mobilize private sector involvement in the expansion project for the port. Ramaphosa added that the project in intended to help the port fulfill its role of anchoring the growth of the domestic economy and act as a gateway to southern Africa as well as the entire continent.
The Durban port has apparently been tackling a worsening issue of congestion, with major concerns surrounding drayage queues, delay in vessel berthing and anchorage, poor equipment maintenance, and low productivity.
In an open letter, Ramaphosa emphasized on the importance of forming partnerships with the private sector for ushering new investment, expertise, and technology to port operations and for modernizing infrastructure and equipment.
He also announced that, later this year, Transnet, which is the nation’s custodian of rail, ports, and pipelines, is set to ink a concession with a private firm regarding building and operating a new terminal in the Point Precinct. The concession, Ramaphosa believes, will increase the efficacy of the container handling process at the port.
The modernization project for the Durban port will reportedly also carry out the deepening of the Maydon Wharf channel to accommodate large, modern vessels to dock at the port, along with infilling Pier 1 and Pier 2 to make additional capacity for these containers.
According to data from the Transnet National Ports Authority, the Durban port’s overall throughput was 2.9 million TEU in 2018, a 10% increase from the year prior.
Evidently, upon completion, the project will take the container handling capacity of the port to over 11 million TEU. The project, which will run for a decade, is aimed at helping reclaim its stand as the busiest and largest harbor in Africa from its current standing at third position after Egypt’s Port Said and Tangiers in Morocco.