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Transnet forges ahead with R89bn logistics hub in KZN

By Lyse Comins - Mail & Guardian


The Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) is forging ahead with the development of the R89 billion KwaZulu-Natal Logistics Hub, which includes new container terminals, improved roads and port security and the relocation of the SA Navy base from Salisbury Island in Durban to Richards Bay’s Naval and Pelican islands.

Photo: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The TNPA portfolio director, Bridgette Gasa-Toboti, and Moshi Motlohi, the authority’s managing executive for the eastern region, gave an update on plans for the hub and the port in Durban last week. 


Gasa-Toboti said capacity at the ports of Durban and Richards Bay would be improved by 31 initiatives that also included the expansion of the vehicle terminal, deepening of the Maydon Wharf Channel and the construction of a mega chrome terminal.


“In the case of the Port of Durban, we know that we are positioning them to be a container hub and we are seeking to increase the volumes of exports from the current 2.9 million TEUs [twenty-foot equivalent units] to 11.4 million TEUs per annum,” she said. Plans were moving ahead to make way for the expansion of the Point terminal at Durban to increase exports from 520 000 fully built vehicle units to just under a million FBUs a year by 2030.


The project entails the demolition of infrastructure, including the Ocean Terminal Building, L, M and N Sheds, the Durmarine Building, Schoeman’s Bridge and the spiral ramp, and the construction of roads and bridges. The demolitions and relocation of infrastructure such as staff offices and the helicopter hangar are expected to be completed by April 2028.

Gasa-Toboti said the TNPA had secured funding from the Development Bank of Southern African to conduct the feasibility studies for the development of the Point Container Terminal, while the ports authority would fund all the berth and associated port infrastructure. 


The request for interest process had been concluded for the development of the dry dock, to which one company had responded, expressing its interest in funding and operating the new facility. She said the request for proposals for operators for both facilities are being prepared.

Additional master plan projects include the Durban Bay Waterfront development, the widening and deepening of the port entrance channel, the reconstruction of Island View Berth, Pier 1 Phase 2 Container Terminal and the New Maydon Wharf Container Terminal.


New navy base

At the Port of Richard Bay, preparations are under way for the construction of a new navy base in the port and a satellite station at the Port of Durban. The TNPA appointed a service provider in January 2024 to undertake pre-feasibility studies for both facilities. The studies, which include preliminary engineering work for the base, satellite, and residential facility in the Port of Richards Bay, are projected to be completed by October 2024.


The appointment of a service provider to construct a liquified natural gas berth in the South Dunes with interconnecting pipeline, bulk services, loading arms, pipe racks, gas transmission pipeline and floating storage regasification unit is expected in March this year. Vopak and TPL Consortium Venture will run the facility for 25 years.


Gasa-Toboti said the preferred bidder for the construction of the 6.75 hectare container handling facility, which will handle 200 000 TEUs, is to be announced in April this year.

Other projects at Richards Bay include the construction of two dry bulk berths to increase throughput volumes and the extension of the 800-series jetty with two additional berths for dry bulk.


Motlohi highlighted several capital expenditure projects under way at both ports, such as the 500m extension of Mundra Road and the 2400m N-class railway line, a service road, the upgrade of the Moba Lines and Arrival Yard from 48 kilogrammes per cubic metre rails to 57 kg/m rails at Richards Bay, stormwater systems and the installation of hydraulically driven capstans, as well as a new security fencing and gates at the Port of Durban.

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