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FFourth-largest in the Southern Hemisphere, this 21km-wide port features 58 berths and is serviced by more than 20 terminal operators. A technically-advanced tracking system facilitates processing of more than 30 million tons of cargo every year.
The port of Durban is the largest shipping terminal on the African continent and remains open round the clock, 365 days a year. Its strategic location along international shipping routes has secured the port’s importance as South Africa’s main cargo and container port, which handles more than 30 million tons of cargo annually, and is visited by 4500 commercial vessels every year.
TThe distance across the port is 21km, railway tracks total 302km and the port has 58 berths – each 148m to 350m long and up to 12.2m deep – serviced by more than 20 terminal operators.
The quay features more than eight hectares of storage facilities, road and rail access, inspection facilities, an administration block, a state-of-the-art cargo-tracking system, CCTV surveillance monitoring and floodlit security fencing.
SStrategic points in the harbour include Pier No. 1, Pier No. 2, Point, T-Jetty, Cross Berth, Island View, Bluff, Bayhead and Maydon Wharf. The harbour also features a dedicated berth for bunkering, operated by SAPREF, and a single-buoy mooring at Isipingo for large crude carriers. During World War II, Sunderland and Catalina flying boats ran reconnaissance duties from their Bayhead base, a role that carried on well into the 1950s.
Cruise ships are catered for at the port of Durban’s passenger terminal facility at N Shed, while quays for commercial fishing operations are based in the Silt Channel and at Maydon Wharf.
OOne of the more recent port developments is the Durban Car Terminal, a world-class facility that handles 60 000 vehicles a year. The terminal infrastructure includes a 380m bridge linking the terminal to the quayside, and 6500 parking bays. Another improvement was widening the harbour entrance channel to 222m and increasing the depth to 19m at the outer entrance.
The National Ports Authority operates a fleet of tugs, and a pollution boat named Udonti also serves the port. Although Durban harbour boasts a fully equipped diving team, private concerns also provide commercial diving services. Salisbury Island, a former naval base, today hosts visiting warships of the South African and foreign navies, but there are discussions to revert back to
Salisbury Island, a former naval base, today hosts visiting warships of the South African and foreign navies, but there are discussions to revert back to full naval status at some point in the future.