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Friday, March 16, 2012

Port Of Durban, South Africa

The Port of Durban is the third largest city in South Africa and its busiest port. Boasting a warm subtropical climate and beautiful beaches, it is also a major center for tourism in South Africa. Located on the Natal Bay of the Indian Ocean on South Africa's northeastern coast about 165 kilometers southwest of the Port of Richards Bay and almost 1300 kilometers east-northeast of South Africa's Port of Cape Town. In 2007, over 500 thousand people lived in the Port of Durban city, and more than 3.4 million lived in the metropolitan area.

The Port of Durban has a diverse economy with busy sectors in manufacturing, transportation, government, finance, and tourism. Export-related industries are attracted by the port, and tourists are attracted by the mild climate and cultural diversity they find in the Port of Durban. While government is the largest employer in the Port of Durban, manufacturing has been shrinking, leading to increases in the crime rate. The micro-business sector is healthy and growing, but the Port of Durban region has high rates of unemployment. Due to crime and pollution, the Port of Durban's central city has suffered economic decline. Many corporations have relocated to more suburban areas. Despite these setbacks, the Port of Durban is working to revitalize the central city with new leisure and residential developments as well as projects to enhance the waterfront. There is great hope that clean-up efforts in anticipation of the 2010 FIFA World Cup will help turn the local economy around. Still, the Port of Durban is the main economic force in KwaZulu-Natal province, providing over half of the provincial employment, income, and output.

The Transnet National Ports Authority develops port rules for South Africa's seaports under the National Ports Act No. 12 of 2005. The National Ports Act aimed at modernizing ports and making operations more efficient. Under the National Ports Act, the Transnet National Ports Authority is responsible for controlling and managing ports, including maintaining safety and security.

Transnet is a focused freight transport company that seeks to deliver integrated, efficient, safe, reliable, and affordable services that promote economic growth in South Africa. They do this by working to increase their market share, improve profitability and productivity, and provide sufficient capacity that anticipates their customers' needs.

The Port of Durban is one of the world's most important commercial ports. Development of the harbor began in 1855. In addition to being a major container port, the Port of Durban is an entry point for bulk raw materials, capital goods, and industrial equipment. Exports include minerals, sugar, grain, and coal. Oil is refined in the Port of Durban and piped to Johannesburg.

The Port of Durban handles more sea-going traffic than any port in southern Africa. In 2008, the Port of Durban handled a total of 41.4 million tons of cargo, including 30.5 million tons of imports (plus 322.5 thousand tons of cabotage) and 10.4 million tons of exports (plus 217.5 thousand tons of transshipments). The Port of Durban handled 7.3 million tons of bulk cargoes, including almost 27.5 million tons of imports, over 5.5 million tons of exports, and over two million tons of bulk cabotage. The Port of Durban handled a total of almost 3.6 million tons of breakbulk cargoes, including 3.4 million tons of imports, 3.2 million tons of exports, about 37 thousand tons of cabotage, and 195.3 thousand tons of transshipments.

During the 2008-2009 shipping season, the Port of Durban handled 2.56 million TEUs of containers with 34.6 million tons of cargo. Of these 948.2 thousand TEUs were imports, 994.6 thousand TEUs were exports, and 617.5 TEUs were transshipments (including 40.9 thousand TEUs of cabotage). During the season, the Port of Durban handled over 67% of all containers handled by South African ports. The Port of Durban Car Terminal, the country's biggest import/export facility for the motor industry, handled more than 372.5 thousand units, including 184.5 thousand imports, 182.1 thousand exports, and almost six thousand transshipments.

The Port of Durban covers a total of over 1.8 thousand hectares of land and water, and it is protected by two breakwaters that are 335 and 700 meters long. The Port of Durban contains 302 kilometers of rail tracks, and the harbor is only one block from the Port of Durban's Central Business District. More than four thousand commercial vessels call at the Port of Durban's 57 berths each year. While the port was initially developed for imports, exports have become more dominant over the years.

Pilotage is required for all vessels entering the Port of Durban from a point 4.8 kilometers northeast of the entrance to the port, and tug assistance is also required. The Port of Durban offers extensive safe anchorage outside the port. The Port of Durban has 57 berths (not counting fishing and ship repair) and an inner anchorage in the bay. Operating 24 hours a day, the entrance channel is 12.8 meters deep and 122 meters wide (to be widened another 100 meters). Vessels up to 300 meters long and 37 meters wide can easily enter the port. The port operates a fleet of tugs owned and operated by the National Ports Authority (NPA), and the NPA conducts dredging on an ongoing basis.

The Port of Durban is Africa's biggest container port in terms of capacity. Located on some of the world's busiest shipping routes, it is South Africa's main port for general cargo and containers. The Port of Durban handles an average of 83 thousand containers each month at the Port of Durban Container Terminal, the largest in the southern hemisphere.

Operating on a common-user basis, the Port of Durban has five business units managed by Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) that include the Durban Container Terminal, Pier 1 Container Terminal, the Multi-purpose City Terminal, the Durban Car Terminal, and Maydon Wharf Terminal. Other terminals in the Port of Durban are operated by private companies. These include the Bluff Coaling Terminal, the Island View Oil and Petroleum Complex, the Fresh Produce Terminal and a fruit terminal at Maydon Wharf, the Sugar Terminal, Wood Chip Terminal, and SA Bulk Terminals. Many private facilities are located at Maydon Wharf.

The Port of Durban has a modern passenger terminal at N-berth on the T-Jetty that serves cruise ships and operates mostly from November to May in the summer. During the 2010 FIFA World Soccer Cup, several cruise ships will be anchored in the harbor to serve as hotels. The Port of Durban can berth up to three cruise vessels at one time. The Port of Durban is constructing a new cruise terminal at A-berth near the Point Waterfront.

The Port of Durban has comprehensive ship repair facilities that include a graving dock of 352 meters long and 33.5 meters wide at the top. The graving dock is split into inner and outer docks which are 138.6 and 206.9 meters long, respectively. The Port of Durban is considering proposals for building a private dry dock at the Dormac Marine shipyard.

The Port of Durban also has three floating docks, one of them operated by Transnet. The Transnet dock is 109 meters long and has displaced lifting capacity of 4500 tons. Elgin Brown & Hamer operate the second floating dock, Eldock, which is South Africa's only privately-owned floating dock. Eldock is 155 meters long and has lifting capacity of 8500 tons. The third floating dock, at 50 meters long, is used for a launch vessel for the Port of Durban's new tug fleet constructed at SA Shipyards, and it can be used for ship repairs.

The Port of Durban has three marinas for yachts, and port and city authorities have proposed a new combined marina waterfront development. The Port of Durban's main marina, the Wilson's Wharf Marina, is opposite the Esplanade and is served by the Royal Natal Yacht Club and the Point Yacht Club. This marina is used by motor vessels and the Bluff Yacht Club facility. A new marina is being built outside the harbor entrance, and the Port of Durban is joining the city to create a combined marina development at the waterfront. The Port of Durban offers a range of recreational activities in Durban Bay. In the mangrove swamps Heritage Site, fishing from boats and bird watching are popular activities. In Durban Bay, many canoers, kayakers, and parasailors enjoy the facilities. Public sight-seeing tours are available from ferries and launches in the bay.

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