Coast KZN

26 Aug 2016

Dig-out port option put on hold for a decade

Kamini Padayachee

The proposed Durban digout port has been put on hold for more than a decade and development of its first phase will start only in 2032.

The dig-out port is earmarked for the old Durban airport which Transnet bought in 2012 for R1.25 billion.

At the time the project was announced, it was expected to cost between R75 billion and R100 billion over 30 years.

There have been previous reports that the project would be delayed, but this is the first time the Transnet National Ports Authority has announced a time frame for when it will begin. In response to The Mercury yesterday, the ports authority said the project fitted into the context of broader plans to increase the handling capacity of the Durban Container Precinct in the Port of Durban.

“Based on current forecasts, the project has been re-baselined and the first phase of the port development will be required only in the year 2032.”

The authority said it would focus on two key projects to optimise the existing capacity of the Durban Container Precinct – namely the Durban Container Terminal berth deepening project and the Salisbury Island infill project.

These two projects are expected to raise the capacity of the Durban Container Precinct to around 5.3 million TEUs (20foot container equivalents) by 2022/23 from its current capacity of 3.6 million TEUs.


The authority’s response came after the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance said its organised resistance to the dig-out port plans had yielded results.

“This is an important victory for the alliance and the communities it represents, as it means retention of the community space as a residential zone, and no displacement of residents and workers such as the old Durban airport farmers,” the organisation said.

Co-ordinator Desmond D’Sa said the organisation had been told about the delay at two meetings that it had held with the ports authority in May and another earlier this month.

He added that there had also been a verbal undertaking that the 16 airport land farmers, who have been on the site for 30 years, would be allowed to stay there for another decade.

“We have asked for this formally in writing, but we are yet to receive it.”

He said the organisation was still against the project’s ever going ahead.

Transnet did not respond to the issue of the farmers yesterday.

But it said affected people and businesses in the South Durban Basin were an important part of its plans to stimulate economic growth and job creation.

“We will in the near future be embarking on the process of engaging all affected stakeholders regarding these plans, which always take into account the prevailing economic climate, impact on cargo volumes and job creation,” Transnet said.


Online Article