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Artistic impression - Durban Dig-out Port

Artistic impression – Durban Dig-out Port

An international ports expert has expressed serious reservations about Durban’s proposed dig-out port. He said plans for a dig-out port should be put on hold, with efforts rather directed at maximising the existing facilities and potential at Durban Harbour.

International adviser and expert on port development Jamie Simpson, of Canada, has warned Transnet and the eThekwini Municipality against pursuing the dig-out port, saying the current port has to “keep going”. Simpson was a guest speaker at a ports and cities dialogue with Durban businesses, hosted by the municipality’s Edge (Economic Development and Growth eThekwini) at the Moses Mabhida Stadium yesterday. His point of view was supported by two other speakers.

However, Transnet group strategy general manager Irvindra Naidoo was adamant that the parastatal was forging ahead with the project, saying Durban was “running out of capacity” and had to expand.

Naidoo said: “The question was: ‘Okay, do we now go off somewhere else and develop a new maritime cluster around Richards Bay or somewhere else, or do we try to embed or strengthen the cluster… (by extending) the Durban port?’ That’s what this dig-out port really is about. It’s an extension of an existing cluster.”

The port, the continent’s busiest, caters for 2.6 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) a year. These result in about 8 000 daily container-related heavy vehicle movements around the Bayhead area. Transnet has repeatedly said that the port will battle to provide the capacity for future demand.

Naidoo said with a dig-out port at the old Durban International Airport site, the containers could reach 8.2 million TEU by 2040, resulting in about 17 500 heavy vehicle movements daily in the South Durban Basin.

Simpson told the panel that the move “might not be a very good solution”. He said: “In view of the likely availability of financing – a lot of uncertainty – I think the port has to keep going and develop a capital investment plan and operational improvement plans to meet demand in the next five to 10 years.”

From there, he said, the parastatal could “weigh up” whether a bigger port “makes sense in view of market conditions… and availability of finance at the time”.

The first phase of construction of the dig-out port was expected to start between 2021 and 2025. A pre-feasibility study started in 2013. To read the full article click here! Source: iol.co.za

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BagamoyoThe government of Tanzania has announced that successful negotiation with Chinese officials will allow work to start on the $11bn Bagamoyo megaport this year, rather than January 2015, as originally scheduled.

The port is to be developed by China Merchants Holdings International, the world largest independent port operators. In the first phase of work, the quay, the container yards, the cargo terminals and all dredging work will be completed by 2017.

These facilities will then be expanded in stages over a period of 30 years, to give an eventual capacity of 20 million containers a year. This is likely to make the port the largest on the east coast of Africa, with a capability to handle roll on, roll off ships and container vessels with a 10,000 TEU capacity (these is, “new Panamax” ships that are too large to fit in the Panama Canal).

Underwriting the development is the discovery of some 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, which is going to make the country a leading exporter over the next decade.

Bagamoyo is seen as a Tanzania’s trump card in the sharpening struggle with other east African companies for foreign investment, export markets, industrial development and business from landlocked countries in the interior.

In particular, Tanzania is competing with the Kenyan port of Mombasa for investment and the handling of exports from Uganda, Burundi, Zambia and Rwanda. Although it looks to be in the lead in terms of port infrastructure, Kenya has taken the lead in the development of effective rail links, and Mozambique is closer to bringing its liquid natural gas deposits to market.

When completed, the port will cover about 800 hectares. Around it will be a 1,700 hectare special economic zone. The intention is to encourage set up industries that process or refine Tanzania’s raw materials, such as coffee roasting or ore processing, thereby capturing more of the value chain.

Adelhelm Meru, the director general of the Export Processing Zones Authority, which will be in charge of the zone, told journalists in Dar es Salaam recently that he wanted to attract “industries specialising in value-addition of agricultural products” which he said had been a leading area of investment under the EPZA for the past six years. He said about 55% of industries established under the EPZA dealt in agricultural and textile processing.

The zone is expected to be fully developed by 2024. Source: Global Contruction Review