The visit to Durban, a fortnight ago, of the MSC FABIOLA has again raised the limit in terms of container ship sizes to call at the port. The previous largest box ship to call at Durban was the 11,660-TEU MSC Luciana, whereas MSC Fabiola can carry up to 12,562-TEU.
Obviously the ship was not fully laden otherwise the port would not have been able to accommodate the ship. The deepest berths at the Durban Container Terminal are 12.8m and those at Pier 1 are about the same.
MSC Fabiola is a charter vessel and is currently deployed on MSC’s pendulum service between Northern Europe and Singapore via Durban, Cape Town and Ngqura. The rotation is Northern Europe ports, Cape Town, Ngqura, Durban, Singapore, Durban, Ngqura, Northern Europe.
The next objective to aim at is to have the 14,000-TEU box ships deployed on the South African service, defying all previous projections, as indeed has been the case with the 12,500-TEU MSC Fabiola.
Of course, the main obstacle in having these post panamax ships calling at Durban is that the country’s main container port lacks a deepwater berth. This is despite the entrance channel having been dredged and widened several years ago to -19m decreasing to – 16.5m in the harbour inside entrance. In the process South Africa has once again been exposed by rapidly moving circumstances and questions need to be asked as to why the process of providing Durban with deep water berths is being delayed. Source: SAPorts.co.za
- Port Natal – Durban Harbour 40s, 50s and 60s (mpoverello.com)