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Old March 12th, 2007, 11:35 PM   #121
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The changing face of Durban Bay

Jan 31, 2007
Author: Terry Hutson

By the end of 2007 it is quite likely that the face of Durban harbour will have begun taking on a different appearance to that which it has presented for the past 30 – 40 years.

The Bay has indeed undergone many changes in the 160 or so years of its establishment as a working harbour and will never again resemble the stretch of waterway that early settlers found when they set out to establish a port and settlement in these parts.




The changing face of Durban 1 – a scene of Durban Bay in the 19th Century, looking towards Salisbury Island (top right) and the Umbilo hills in far background. The Bluff is on the left top of the picture which was taken from the end of the Bluff



The changes due to take place from later this year include the widening of the port entrance, which are scheduled to get underway during the course of 2007 that’s assuming there are no further hitches.

Whether or not work starts on actually removing the North breakwater during the year remains to be seen but the port engineers are currently putting the final touches to their plans, whilst other related work such as the sub-aqueous tunnel underneath the entrance and undertaken by the city engineers is almost complete.

The new tunnel is considerably longer and deeper than its predecessor, which was installed in the late 1950s to replace old sewage outfalls at the Point. The old tunnel was also constructed in a very different manner to the latest version which involved boring well below the entrance channel seabed.

In the case of the older tunnel, the method used was to cast large round concrete pipes in the graving dock and float them to the entrance where divers placed them in position on concrete sleepers along a trench excavated in the harbour bed. Once all were in position the engineers pumped the tunnel dry, leaving the pressure of outside water to bring the sections together in an interlocking position with each other.

This relatively simple system worked extremely well and even the occasional smack from several passing ships – even a large ship like the 50 000-ton SA Winterberg, hasn’t left any lasting problem.





The changing face of Durban 2 – the harbour in 1956 at the height of the Suez Canal crisis

Sadly the entrance widening will also bring the curtain down on another landmark of old Durban – public access to the north breakwater, which has continued unimpeded through the years, becoming a favourite place for a weekend of fishing or simply to watch the ships go by. The breakwater also made for an excellent view site across the Golden Mile of Durban’s beachfront.

Keeping the new breakwater open to the public is in doubt, although there has been no public indication by the National Ports Authority. There are those within the NPA with strong feelings against allowing continued access, citing security as a factor demanding more fences of exclusion. If they are to have their way it will be a retrograde step and is one that the public should express themselves volubly while they still have a voice in the matter.

Of course the new marina being planned for the area outside the north breakwater will influence the outcome. It may turn out that the only people with access to part of the breakwater in the future will be those using the marina, while Joe Public is excluded completely from the area.

In fact all this talk of security is at times a bit over the top. There are many examples of international ports throughout Europe and the United States and elsewhere, places like Rotterdam and Antwerp and Los Angeles in the United States – all large and security-sensitive ports - where the public continues to enjoy vantage points from where they can watch ships come and go in reasonably close proximity.

In these places it seems there is a balance and an understanding that public support is necessary. In some of the places the port and city authorities have even gone out of their way to encourage interaction, with boardwalks and pathways along which the public has controlled access – where the authorities are aware of the immense value of ships as an attraction for both tourist and local resident alike. Durban (and South Africa’s other ports) need to guard against a creeping authoritarianism or an overreaction that excludes the public – a sense of balance is required.

Above all it needs to be remembered that Durban Bay belongs to the people of Durban. The port authority and terminal operators are simply custodians.

Other landmarks at the port entrance that will disappear include some of the original foundation rocks from the Milne breakwater of the 1850s – rock cut from the Bluff and floated across on barges to build the first breakwater. Part of Milne’s breakwater was absorbed in the existing north breakwater.

Still other landmarks destined to go include the King George battery of the World War II era, which amidst much publicity was converted for use as a pub and restaurant but has since disappeared from the radar of public opinion. Restaurants along this piece of waterfront, looking directly out into the channel and literally a stone’s throw from passing ships, have already begun closing and moving out.





The changing face of Durban 3 – an aerial image of the city and port towards the end of the 20th Century. The long finger of green is the Bluff, the 100m high peninsular that provides the port with its protection from the vagaries of the sea. Salisbury Island - by this stage built up and fully developed as a naval base - can be seen across the bay facing the end of the T-Jetty which, as its name suggests, juts out from the Point docks to the left. By 2005 the Point docks had also been extended further into the bay, forming the City Terminal for breakbulk cargo. The container terminal is the Z-shaped structure in the right centre with Bayhead on the extreme upper right. Picture NPA


And most controversially, although not strictly a part of the port redevelopment, one of the best stretches of unspoiled beach will also go, while who knows yet what will happen to Vetch’s Pier once the new marina is built.

The latter is today a valuable marine resource, which I’m told contains a mussel bed and is a safe place for ‘rookies’ to learn skin diving. One forgets this was a man-made pier, one of several efforts at creating a safe entrance for the harbour. It was named (and frequently misspelled) after its designer, Captain James Vetch of the Royal Engineers, who came up with the idea of the pier from the comfort of his office in London without ever having visited Natal.

That it was an abject failure is obvious but his legacy had unintended benefits and has become a wonderful marine resource – one which is now under threat from development of the new marina.

Most if not all these changes, then and now, have been for the good of the port and the good of Durban. Some have worked, others not. A lot more changes lie ahead, including a start (hopefully) this year on the Congella (Khangella) overhead bridge connecting Bayhead Road with Umbilo Road while somewhere in the future is the proposed digging out of parts of Bayhead to create new waterways and quays for large new container and car terminals.

These improvements are designed to help bring greater prosperity to the city and its people but those responsible for bringing them about need to remember that a sense of balance needs to be struck, because with progress come many challenges like road congestion, risk and inconvenience.

Either way the port of Durban has come a long way in 160 years and still has a longer distance to travel.





Another face of Durban, looking down at the Bluff Yacht Club and the Trawler’s Wharf in the Bayhead Silt Canal, still an oasis of tranquility amidst the hustle and bustle of a busy port. The prominent building on the horizon, visible from most parts of Durban, forms part of the University of KwaZulu Natal. Picture Terry Hutson
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Old March 13th, 2007, 07:58 AM   #122
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wow, very very very nice article
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Old March 13th, 2007, 10:01 AM   #123
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i agree , its a great article on Durbans history
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Old March 13th, 2007, 10:43 PM   #124
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From history to now...


Improved access for Africa’s busiest port

Durban’s port, the most strategically placed in southern Africa and also the port handling the most cargo in the region, is undergoing a multi-billion-rand infrastructure improvement. This includes the widening and deepening of the harbour entrance and deepening of channels within the port to accommodate ‘latest-generation’ cargo vessels.



The existing junction of Bayhead Road, coming from the Bayhead region of the port and forming a T-junction with South Coast Road. The dry dock is on the immediate right centre of the picture, partly obscured

With 60 percent of imports into the country transported along Bayhead Road, this route plays a integral role in the overall port operations and it, too, is receiving a major overhaul to improve access and egress to the harbour area.

The R127-million contract to construct the Khangela Bridge and Bayhead Road extension has been awarded by the eThekwini Municipality to the Stefanutti / Basil Read Joint Venture, a joint venture between Stefanutti & Bressan and Basil Read. The implementation of the project is being led by the Roads Provision Department of the eThekwini Municipality’s Engineering Unit and is being funded by both the Municipality and the National Ports Authority of Transnet Limited. Transnet Projects (formerly Protekon) has been appointed by the Roads Provision Department to design and manage the construction of the bridge and rail-related works. Clive Reucassel, a director of Stefanutti & Bressan, has been appointed contract director for the Joint Venture.

Reucassel, a director of Stefnautti & Bressan, explains: “The scope of works includes the construction of the seven-span Khangela Bridge from Bayhead to Sydney Roads across the Spoornet tracks feeding the Bayhead area, the M4 Southern Freeway and the electrified Metro Rail tracks into Durban. The bridge comprises four spans of twin, incrementally-launched, box-girder decks over the electrified Metro Rail tracks and M4 Southern Freeway; one cast-in-situ transition span and two spans of conventional precast beam and deck slab over the Spoornet tracks. The Metro Rail tracks and the M4 Southern Freeway are extremely busy transport routes in and out of the city, and the incrementally-launched bridge was the best option to ensure least disruption.



The proposed Khangela bridge spanning the railway lines and the Southern Freeway which will extend Bayhead Road and connect with the Umbilo Road arterial and reducing much congestion in South Coast Road and the Rossburgh Junction area

“Parapet modifications will be made to the existing road-over-rail structure where the new Khangela Bridge ties into South Coast Road and two new traction substations will be built for Spoornet and Metro Rail.

“Glastonbury Place between Umbilo and Sydney Roads will be reconstructed, the intersection at the Queen Mary Avenue and Umbilo Road will be widened, and new access roads to the eThekwini Municipality Congella electrical substation, the United Breweries and the adjacent warehouses, will be constructed. The north-bound carriageway of South Coast Road at the Bayhead intersection will receive an asphalt overlay and services in Sydney and South Coast Roads will have to be rerouted.

“A new turning facility will be constructed. Watford Road, near Sydney Road, and the railway tracks and services will be slewed to allow for the construction of the piers and abutments for the bridge.

“Although the contract was awarded to start on 19 February, there are numerous services to move before we can start the actual construction of the bridge. Piling is due to start during June, followed by pier and abutment construction, with the launching of first carriageway of the bridge deck due to start in December 2007. The entire project is scheduled for completion in February 2009.”
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Old March 13th, 2007, 10:54 PM   #125
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Durban’s Pier 1 Container Terminal on target for May deadline

SAPO, Durban, 27 February - While operations at South African Port Operations Pier 1 terminal temporarily closed in December last year, the terminal is currently a hive of activity in keeping with a R2-billion development plan to establish Pier 1 as a high performance container terminal, says SA Port Operations in a statement issued on Tuesday.

‘The drive by SAPO, a core division of Transnet is intended to create additional capacity, ensure readiness before the peak period and ultimately handle 720,000 TEU by the end of 2007.

‘The acceleration plan is in line with SAPO’s strategic objective of creating capacity before demand. This will be achieved by capacity migration which includes enhancing infrastructure, superstructure, recruitment and training.

‘When the terminal re-opens it will be in Rubber Tyre Gantry (RTG) mode to optimise efficiency and space utilization – a first for South African terminals.

‘Pier 1 will start up with one berth, 2 ship-to-shore (STS) gantry cranes and 6 RTGs. By the end of August 2007, the terminal will have 3 berths, 5 STS cranes and 12 RTGs. An additional 6 RTGs and 1 STS crane will be delivered at the end of 2007.

‘Four RTGs have already been assembled and are currently being commissioned to ensure that they are operational by the May go live deadline.

‘The RTG is an impressive 13.7metres wide (or seven lanes wide i.e. across six containers and one lane for a truck) and 26 metres high.

‘It has numerous benefits namely the driver’s cabin is extremely hi-tech featuring a computerised system that is able to detect its own faults.

‘In addition it has been designed to take into account the operator’s comfort and ergonomic consideration as it has an air conditioner and heater installed.’

source – South African Port Operations
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Old March 13th, 2007, 10:58 PM   #126
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These stats are showing the big constant grow in containers handled by the durban port. At present growth is at 16% p.a, which is very high hence the fast tracking of so many of the port projects


SA port statistics for January

South African ports handled a total of 14.792 million tonnes of cargo during the month of January 2007 (Dec 15.311Mt). This figure excludes containers which the National Ports Authority records in TEUs but no longer by weight.

The figures shown below reflect an estimated average container weight of 13.5 tonnes per TEU (probably a conservative estimate) and when taken into account the figure handled by all ports becomes 18.883 million tonnes (December was 18.813Mt).

Including the calculated figure for containers, the respective ports handled the following:

Cargo handled by tonnes

Richards Bay 5.709 million tonnes (Dec 8.074Mt)
Durban 6.340 Mt (Dec 5.281)
Saldanha Bay 4.164 Mt (Dec 3.446)
Cape Town 1.113 Mt (Dec 0.986)
Port Elizabeth 1.126 Mt (Dec 0.891)
East London 0.216 Mt (Dec 0.129)
Mossel Bay 0.213 Mt (Dec 0.006)

Containers measured by TEUs
(TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Tranship and empty containers and subject to being invoiced by NPA)

Durban 208,312 TEU (Dec 169,074)
Cape Town 60,696 (Dec 54,758)
Port Elizabeth 29,764 (Dec 32,480)
East London 4,048 (Dec 2,797)
Richards Bay 195 (Dec 266)

Total handled 303,015 TEU (Dec 306,990)


Ship Calls

Durban: 396 vessels 8.670m gt (371 vessels 8.219 million gt)
Cape Town: 261 vessels 3.644m gt (240 vessels 3,981m gt)
Port Elizabeth: 96 vessels 2.571m gt (145 vessels 2.528m gt)
Richards Bay: 107 vessels 3.413m gt (135 vessels 5.319m gt)
Saldanha: 43 vessels 2,850m gt (43 vessels 2.521m gt)
East London: 23 vessels 0.709m gt (19 vessels 0.536m gt)
Mossel Bay: 67 vessels 0.204m gt (75 vessels 0.174m gt)


- source NPA plus Ports & Ships calculations to include container weights
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Old March 13th, 2007, 11:02 PM   #127
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Durban’s dig out port – Toyota makes its claim


Durban’s deputy mayor Logie Naidoo has revealed that Toyota SA is interested in the land currently occupied by the Durban International Airport (DIA) which is also mooted as a potential dig out port for a new container terminal and a tanker terminal.

According to a report in yesterday’s Business Day, Logie said Toyota SA, South Africa’s largest motor manufacturer, has expressed an interest in acquiring the land when the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) relocates to the new airport site at La Mercy, north of Durban. This is expected to be in 2009 or possibly 2010.

DIA occupies strategic land in the Durban South industrial basin, barely twenty minutes from the centre city and Durban Harbour. The unpublished Port Master Plan shows that Transnet and the National Ports Authority also have an interest in the present airport site, involving the possibility of a dig-out port that can provide adequate facilities for a new container terminal or terminals, as well as deep water berthing for VLCC’s which are currently forced to use the offshore single buoy mooring opposite DIA.

The majority of South Africa’s oil imports come in via this facility.

The Sapref refinery of Shell and BP occupies land on the immediate southeast of the airport, between the airport and the sea, while Durban’s third refinery, Engen is a short distance away to the east.

Toyota is known to be looking to expand its operation to meet with an expanding market including the export of several motor vehicle models. In addition there are plans to expand other component manufacturing plants nearby and to facilitate Durban’s growth as the leading import and export portal. In the past year Durban harbour handled in excess of 400,000 motor units and SA Port Operations business unit manager Hector Danisa said recently he expects this number to increase significantly this year.
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Old March 14th, 2007, 05:10 AM   #128
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any one have a good pic of tankers loading via the off shore buoy? I remember as a kid watching this happen from the Bluff and it was impressive
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Old March 14th, 2007, 08:10 AM   #129
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Nope, I was bummed when I went to SAPREF, & they promised us that a Tanker would be there, but the basturds got stuck out sea coz of a storm, so they were a day delayed!
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Old March 17th, 2007, 03:17 PM   #130
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SA Port statistics for February

South African ports handled a total of 13.915 million tonnes of cargo during the month of February 2007 (Jan 14.792Mt). This figure excludes tonnage for containers which the National Ports Authority records in TEUs but no longer by weight.

The figures shown below include an estimated average container weight of 13.5 tonnes per TEU (probably conservative) and when taken into account the figure handled by all ports becomes 18.239 million tonnes (January was 18.883Mt).

Including the calculated figure for containers, the respective ports handled the following:

Cargo handled by tonnes

Richards Bay 6.064 million tonnes (Jan 5.709Mt)
Durban 4.902 Mt (Jan 6.340)
Saldanha Bay 4.876 Mt (Jan 4.164)
Cape Town 1.284 Mt (Jan 1.113)
Port Elizabeth 0.704 Mt (Jan 1.126)
East London 0.278 Mt (Jan 0.216)
Mossel Bay 0.131 Mt (Jan 0.213)

Containers measured by TEUs
(TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Tranship and empty containers and subject to being invoiced by NPA)

Durban 213,477 TEU (Jan 208,312)
Cape Town 66,278 (Jan 60,696)
Port Elizabeth 34,922 (Jan 29,764)
East London 5,568 (Jan 4,048)
Richards Bay 104 (Dec 266)

Total handled 320,349 TEU (Jan 303,015)


Ship Calls

Durban: 364 vessels 7.908m gt (396 vessels 8.670 million gt)
Cape Town: 245 vessels 4.106m gt (261 vessels 3,644m gt)
Port Elizabeth: 135 vessels 2.176m gt (96 vessels 2.571m gt)
Richards Bay: 145 vessels 5.716m gt (107 vessels 3.413m gt)
Saldanha: 40 vessels 2,360m gt (43 vessels 2.850m gt)
East London: 26 vessels 0.656m gt (23 vessels 0.709m gt)
Mossel Bay: 134 vessels 0.305m gt (67 vessels 0.204m gt)


- source NPA plus Ports & Ships calculations to include container weights
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Old March 17th, 2007, 03:23 PM   #131
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Durban needs its waterfront

Mar 6, 2007
Author: Terry Hutson




Durban’s yacht and small craft basin interfaces well with the remainder of the port, reflecting the synergies that exist between the two elements. Proposals for the development of the Victoria Embankment Waterfront precinct can only enhance this feeling of togetherness in Durban Bay, which is good for the city and the port. Picture Terry Hutson


Proposals for a new waterfront and marina along Durban’s Victoria Embankment have made the news recently, without quite raising the ire (so far) of any who might be affected by the development.

On the other hand the proposed international marina at the Point, facing directly into the Durban outer anchorage, has a lot going for it, but it also has its detractors and not without good reason.

Anything that adversely affects the sanctity of Vetch’s Pier, which forms the northern boundary of the proposed marina, needs to be called into question, even though Vetch’s was the result of a botched attempt at creating the right environment for a deepwater entrance to the port.

It was an early example of the foolishness of calling in so-called expert advice from overseas when local knowledge was better – that’s a lesson that Durban (and Africa) hasn’t always remembered. Captain Vetch offered his expensive advice (it cost twice as much as the next proposal) from the sanctity of his office in the British Admiralty in London, without ever having visited Durban. They accepted!

But to compound their boo-boo they later honoured the man even further by having a road at Maydon Wharf subsequently named after him!

Nevertheless the ‘shorn’ version of Vetch’s, reduced later to low tide height level, has become an artificial reef replete with marine creatures including a mussel bed and is a wonderful and safe place for people to snorkel and learn to dive - a heritage that Durbanites should fight for.

According to the experts (local it may be added), the proposed new marina will retain much of the pier plus a new snorkelling lagoon may become possible.

But part of the problem is that we seldom get what is advertised. The spate of casinos around the country was an example of this phenomenon. While still at the bidding stage developers were able to exaggerate impressively with fantastic designs and services, knowing that once they were awarded the contract and reality sets in along with cost overrides they will be allowed to begin pruning.

And with the proposed marina there is still too much ambiguity – understandable perhaps as it is still in the assessment stage. But how about some categorical answers to issues like public access and exclusivity, including some clarity from both the developers and the National Ports Authority regarding access to the new northern breakwater, which it seems will be part of the marina structure. Let us hope that fears of American persuasion - some call it bullying - relating to port security and the ISPS code will not prevent Joe Public from being able to stroll along the breakwater to take in the view.

As for the Victoria Embankment development, many regard this as long overdue and there are those who believe it to be the only waterfront with the potential to compare with the V&A at Cape Town. Right now developers are calling for proposals (which closed on 23 January), and it is still too early to comment on what we can expect, but we must trust that the city father’s will not settle for some Heath Robinson affair built to minimum standards. The entire area from Wilson’s Wharf (another marina which was developed on the ‘inexpensive side’ and already requires renovation), all the way to the Bat Centre - now a prison behind ugly and unwelcoming security fencing - begs for constructive and inspirational ideas.

The irony is that about 17 ago the then Transnet offered to do just that – develop the precinct with a very ambitious waterfront complete with hotels, restaurants and shops that would have rivalled the V&A or any other elsewhere. Sadly the city fathers of that day in their wisdom turned it down and the opportunity was lost. We could have been enjoying that facility by now.

There’s a story that they (the city fathers) later changed their minds but by then it was too late. One is so often reminded of the late Durban cartoonist Jock Leyden who created two characters existing in municipal service who were named Dilly and Dally, which he used to lampoon inept decision making by the municipality.




The Ifs and Buts of life, or what might have been! In or about 1990 Transnet offered to facilitate a marina within Durban Harbour, situated opposite the Victoria Embankment between the Bat Centre (tug boat basin) and the existing yachting marina.

The city fathers of that time, in their wisdom, decided against the proposal and so nothing happened. Now, 17 or so years later a new city council wants to revamp the existing marina, almost certainly on a less ambitious scale to that offered by Transnet.

The city will have to arrange the finance for the development. Or get the private sector involved.


Transnet was the original developer of the Cape Town Victoria & Albert Waterfront in Cape Town.
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Old March 17th, 2007, 03:25 PM   #132
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I'm told that some of the bids for the VIC embankment marina that closed end January are really impressive and alot grander than the councils plan
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Old March 17th, 2007, 03:31 PM   #133
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I'm told that some of the bids for the VIC embankment marina that closed end January are really impressive and alot grander than the councils plan
awesomeness.
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Old March 18th, 2007, 06:31 AM   #134
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Thats the design I saw before and M&R were involved if I remember correctly. The Left part of the design (out of picture) had the high rise towers facing into the harbour, would have been spectacular to see massive ships steaming past
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Old March 18th, 2007, 09:18 PM   #135
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I'm told that some of the bids for the VIC embankment marina that closed end January are really impressive and alot grander than the councils plan
Great! Can't wait to see the winning one. Hopefully will be worth the wait and grand.
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Old March 18th, 2007, 09:26 PM   #136
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Great! Can't wait to see the winning one. Hopefully will be worth the wait and grand.
me too!! read from council minutes that further interim upgrades are planned again for the area for the clipper this year. they have R19m approved to spend...on what i have no clue
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Old March 19th, 2007, 08:38 AM   #137
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Im sure it will be cool. Cant wait to see the designs as well.
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Old March 21st, 2007, 11:44 PM   #138
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Port entrance widening and deepening gets underway

Mar 21, 2007
Author: Terry Hutson

By now most readers will be aware that Durban’s North Pier, or breakwater, has been closed off to the public as it is now a construction site. The much hyped widening and deepening of the entrance channel is about to get underway and once completed will improve the safety of navigation of ships calling at the port while also enabling Durban to accommodate the much larger ships that are becoming commonplace.

The start of construction will also answer the doubts of those who wondered if the widening would ever take place.

The new pier will be of the same length and shape as the existing pier, which it replaces, except that it is further north and will result in a widening of the channel from 130m at its narrowest point to 220m, flaring out to 300m apart at the outer end.

At the same time the draught in the channel will be increased to a depth of 17m in the inner channel, compared with 12.8m at present. This plus the additional width will ensure that much larger ships are able to access the port and that Durban remains a major port of call for shipping lines for many years to come.

Not only will the port entrance be deepened but so also will the various channels within the port. It is not much use deepening the entrance but leaving inner channels leading to the berths as too shallow to take the bigger ships. In addition certain of the berths will be ‘adjusted’ in terms of depth alongside to enable them to handle deeper draught ships – the first of these berths is at Pier 1 Container Terminal where berths 105, 106 and 107 will have the draught alongside increased to 15.5m compared with a maximum draught alongside at present of between 11.5 and 11.9m.

The result will be that if a shipping line such as MSC, or Maersk or Safmarine or any of the many international container carriers wants to send one of their latest generation ships to Durban, the port will be able to say yes, no problem.

With SA Port Operations introducing the latest generation of super post panamax ship-to-shore gantry cranes at these facilities, even the widest ships can in future be handled.

According to acting port manager Ricky Bhikraj and NPA engineer Dave Ward, the contract for the construction of the new North Pier is to be awarded during March and the work completed within the first quarter of 2010. So for the next three years the site becomes one of construction but the good news is that when completed the new north breakwater will in all likelihood be reopened to the public.

Already some work has been undertaken – the municipality for instance has completed sinking a new tunnel beneath the entrance channel. The job of demolishing the old tunnel will be in the hands of the National Ports Authority contractor when it comes to dredging the channel to the required new depth.

As far as the contractor is concerned the first task is to begin demolishing old structures in the path of the new channel. These include the old restaurants that proved highly popular over the years. The next stage will be dry excavation of the land and the building of a rock revetment along the side of the new channel wall – this is to absorb wave energy generating from passing ships and from incoming swells.

This will be followed by the construction of a new pier extending to a length of 500m into the outer anchorage, along a similar path to the existing north pier but about 100m further north. At a certain point during this process demolition of the old north pier will have begun, allowing the contractor to make use of the same material for the new pier’s construction.

Once the old pier has been removed the dredgers will move in to start dredging the new channel roughly where the old pier once stood. Later the dredgers will deepen the existing channel, during which time shipping will make use of the ‘new’ channel further north, thus avoiding any delays or interruptions to shipping. Once both channels are cleared and become a single wider channel, the new entrance channel will be basically complete.

While this work is going on engineers will also be building a new sand transfer system on the south breakwater, which involves having a new pier erected into the sea at an angle away from the present breakwater which will carry the pipes and waterjet pumps used to move sea sand from the sand trap area (outside the south breakwater) through a piping system to municipal pump stations along the beachfront. The existing hopper station at the base of the north pier will of course have been removed before this. This will happen in about a year’s time.

There’s been a lot of talk about the effect that incoming swells might have on shipping within the harbour once the port has a much wider entrance. According to the port engineers this has been extensively studied using simulation tanks at the University of Stellenbosch, during which every conceivable scenario was examined. This included flying senior marine pilots to Stellenbosch to assist with the simulations. The result has been a design that takes into consideration all the various aspects involving weather and sea conditions and how ships will react both in the channel and on the berths and the engineers are confident there will be no problems in this regard.

“Our first priority has always been, ‘is it technically feasible’, only then did we look at cost and other factors,” said Dave Ward.

The widening and deepening of the port entrance channel has been relatively free of controversy although there are some regulatory procedures remaining. Otherwise all finances have been approved by Transnet and all that remains is to appoint the contractors during March 2007.

The importance of this project to the city of Durban, as well as to the province and the country and region as a whole, is immense. Durban has shown itself to be the most strategically placed port in southern Africa, and also the most efficient in handling large volumes of cargo. Some may query this claim but no other port has to contend with the volume of traffic that Durban handles and still come out on top.

By making the harbour friendly to large ships the NPA and other authorities are ensuring that Durban’s role as the country’s principal port will continue for many years ahead. For all people of Durban and KZN, and much further afield, that is good news.
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Old March 22nd, 2007, 12:19 AM   #139
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Good article. Very informative.

It's interesting that they mention that the North Pier will be open to the public, as is currently the case. If true, that rules out plans by the Point developers (Neil Brink et al) to keep the North Pier closed to the public and open only to selected residents. I am baffled by 2 things though.

1. They say that the new pier is the same length and shape as the existing pier. The plans for the proposed Point small craft harbour shows a much wider and longer pier. Which is correct?
2. They make no mention if the new underwater tunnel between the Point and Bluff will carry pedestrians. We definitely know it will carry wires and sewer but have they definitely constructed a parallel tunnel for pedestrians. This will have an impact on their proposed plans for the Bluff headland. It will be nice to obtain clarity on this.
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Old March 31st, 2007, 12:04 PM   #140
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Africa a challenging and costly market to operate in, says Maersk Line

Some form of private involvement in port terminal operation is essential for Africa’s ports if they wish to improve efficiencies, says Jan Scheck, Maersk Line’s Area Line & Operations Manager.

Scheck, who was speaking at the 5th Intermodal Africa Conference currently underway in Durban, South Africa, said that wherever some form of private partnership in port terminals had been introduced there has been an improvement in productivity.

Africa is a challenging and costly market to do business in, with a considerably different risk profile compared with markets in Europe, USA and large parts of Asia and is a substantially more expensive place, he said.

He pointed out that very little infrastructure development has happened in Africa despite the 10 – 25 percent year on year volume increase already experienced and despite an expected doubling of container growth within Sub Saharan Africa over the next eight years.

“The majority of terminals in Africa are still managed by parastatal organisations and there has been little involvement of the private sector, while customs procedures remain outdated and unable to cope with the increased container flows.”

“Container handling in Africa costs the African manufacturer a staggering 290 percent more than his European competitor and lacking infrastructure is clearly an inhibitor to accelerated trade growth.”

He added that Africa has 18 percent of the world’s population yet accounts for a mere 2 percent of world trade. “Lacking infrastructure was clearly an inhibitor to accelerated trade growth,” he claimed.

In 2005 Africa (including the Indian Ocean islands) had seven terminal bottlenecks – Apapa in Nigeria, Matadi in the DRC, Luanda in Angola, Cape Town and Durban in South Africa, Mombasa in Kenya and Port Sudan in Sudan, said Scheck. A year later these had increased to 14 bottlenecks and now included Dakar in Senegal, Conakry in Guinea, Tema in Ghana, Cotonou in Benin, Pointe Noire in Congo, Walvis Bay in Namibia, Dar es salaam in Tanzania and Port Louis in Mauritius – these plus the original seven.

Quoting examples of the above Scheck said that in Luanda the average waiting time at anchorage was 72 hours while average berth productivity was 9.6 container moves per hour. Some other port examples he gave as follows:

Matadi 96 hours and 6.9 moves p/h.
Walvis Bay 36 hours and 15 moves p/h.
Port Sudan 48 hours and 15 moves p/h.
Cotonou 48 hours and 17 moves p/h.
Dar es Salaam 48 hours and 18 moves p/h.
Mombasa 36 hours and 16 moves p/h.
Durban 36 hours and 27 moves p/h.
Cape Town 12 hours and 18 moves p/h.
Tema 18 hours and 11.7 moves p/h.

The conference ends today.
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