The Premier Bulk Port
As with so much of South Africa’s coastline, the first visitors to Richards Bay were the Portuguese in the 14th Century, who christened it Rio-dos Peixes (river of many fish).
But it was not until 1879 that Richards Bay got its present name, when Rear-Admiral Sir Frederick William Richards arrived in his ship, “HMS Forester” with a small force to assist in the relief of Eshowe and to survey this part of the Natal coastline in the search for an alternative port to Durban. His map is the earliest to show the uMhlatuze lagoon as Richards Bay.
Richards Bay was eventually selected as the most suitable site for a port because of the size of the lagoon, the ease of dredging and linking with the existing railway network, as well as the availability of sufficient fresh water together with an adjacent town to stimulate initial development.
In 1965 it was announced that a port was to be built at Richards Bay. In May 1972 Parliament authorized construction of the new harbour, based on an agreement with the Transvaal Coal Owners Association to export 26 million tonnes of coal over the next ten years.
Initially built to export coal, Richards Bay has since developed rapidly and diversified to take other cargoes. Currently, the port handles in excess of 80 million tonnes per annum, representing around 51 percent of South Africa’s seaborne cargo, and making it one of the country’s leading port in terms of volumes handled. In 2005 Richards Bay Port handled 89 million tonnes of cargo. A far cry from the unimpressed view expressed by Commissioner Henry Cloete in 1843, when he surveyed the Mhlatuze estuary and declared it to have little or no potential as a future harbour. In 2006 the port is handling an increasing variety of bulk and neo bulk cargo in addition to breakbulk. Much of the general cargo has migrated away from Durban in recent years. Exports remain the main activity of the port.
Nature of Business: Port of Richards Bay - Port regulator, authority and maritime services and landlord.
Services: Provision and maintenance of port infrastructure and provision of marine services.
Holding Company: Transnet Ltd
Date Established: 1979
Customer Base: Importers and exporters
Physical Address: Ventura Road, Port of Richards Bay.
Postal Address: PO Box 181, Richards Bay, 3900.
Tel: + 27 (0)35 905 3440
Fax: + 27 (0)35 905 3333
To facilitate economic growth in South Africa by providing and sustaining port systems that are amongst the best in the world
National Ports Authority- Port of Richards Bay
Richards Bay was eventually selected as the most suitable site for a port because of the size of the lagoon, the ease of dredging and linking with the existing railway network, as well as the availability of sufficient fresh water together with an adjacent town to stimulate initial development