“Largest Eight Ports in South Africa”

Find Biggest South African Port

South Africa, or Republic of South Africa (RSA), is a country on the African continent’s southernmost tip, with various diverse ecosystems. Bordering countries include Botswana, Namibia, Eswatini, and Zimbabwe. The Indian Ocean bordered the country’s east coast, while the South Atlantic borders its west coast.

It permits freight and cruise ships of all sizes to visit the South African coasts in three directions. South Africa’s essential ports run the length of the country’s 1,739-mile coastline. These ports account for 92 percent of the country’s $30.4 million in marine traffic. China, Germany, and the United States are the countries where they export most.

Let’s take a look at South Africa’s nine largest ports, their advantages, operating data, and features.

Port of Durban
Port of Durban
P O Box 1027 Durban 4000 South Africa

Built-in 1824, Durban’s Port has the most shipping traffic in all of Africa. Plus, it’s South Africa’s largest port facility. The port is strategically located on major maritime routes and has strong rail and road connections, making it an essential part of its economy.

  • TEU: 4.5 million (2019)
  • Generates over 60% of South Africa’s total shipping earnings
  • Durban’s facility covers Durban Bay (extend over 18.5 sq. km)
  • Over 58 berths handle dry bulk, container, and liquid cargo annually
  • Receives almost 4,500 commercial vessels per year
  • Facilities can handle ships with a DWT of up to 2,30,000 tons
  • Enormous outside anchorage allows ships with higher DWT to lighten their load
  • Connected to a 302-kilometer railway network for transportation
  • Possess two floating cranes with a capacity of 23 MT and higher handling restrictions (offshore handling)
  • Employs 1900 full-time personnel and has a total handling capacity of 3000 tons
Port of Richards Bay
Port of Richards Bay
P O Box 181. Richards Bay 3900. South Africa

Situated on the Richards Bay Harbour on South Africa’s Indian Ocean coast, Port of Richards Bay is one of the country’s main ports, with the world’s most extensive coal export facilities, Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT).

  • TEU: N/A
  • Handles 55 percent of cargo among South Africa’s major ports in terms of gross volume
  • Accommodate large ships with a channel draught of 17.5 – 19.5 meters
  • 5/6 berths specialize in coal as their principal cargo in all year-round
  • Vessels with more than 350 meters berth across the ports (liquid and dry cargo)
  • Handles up to 80 million MT of cargo each year, with coal accounting for two-thirds of it
  • Loading rates represent a daily volume of 50,000 to 65,000 MT today
  • Coal handling stations’ major seagoing vessels are in the 190,000 MT size range
  • South Africa’s leading bulk port including liquid bulk, breakbulk cargoes, and dry bulk cargoes
  • Comprise multi-purpose terminal, dry bulk terminal, and private-operated coal terminal
  • Export more than 30 types of goods and import over 15 commodities
Port of Port Elizabeth
Port of Port Elizabeth
P O Box 162. Port Elizabeth 6000. South Africa

In 1927, Port of Port Elizabeth started serving the South African sea coast and activating cargo operations. It is located in Port Elizabeth, South Africa’s Eastern Cape province. They mainly handle breakbulk, dry bulk, bulk liquid, and containers and offer fishing vessels and tugs facilities.

  • TEU: 1.5 million
  • The container terminal’s quay length is roughly 1 kilometer, divided into three container berths.
  • It consists of six berths for breakbulk handling and two berths for ore bulk.
  • Bulk vessels with a draught of 12.1 m can safely access the facility
  • Annual cargo volume operations of 11.2 to 12.5 million MT
  • Utilize train and road transit for ore and breakbulk handling
  • Container handling capacity is 375,000 containers due to its vast size
Port of Cape Town
Port of Cape Town
P O Box 4245 Cape Town, Roggebaai 8000 South Africa

The Port of Cape Town is the port of the South African city of Cape Town, in Table Bay. Because of its location, the port will always be strategic and economically important. It is a bustling container port, second only to Durban in South Africa, and handles the freshest produce.

  • TEU: 4,86 million
  • 34 berths in all, including maintenance and smaller boat stopover areas
  • Six container berths serve bigger container ships with 15.9m seagoing drafts
  • Handle road haulers up to 24 MT and cargo trains up to 22 MT
  • Around 9.84 to 11.25 million MT of containers are handled annually
  • Deploy 1200 handling and operations personnel work 360 days a year
  • Typical commodities include chemicals, iron, petroleum products, maize, etc
Port of Ngqura
Port of Ngqura
P O Box 32696 Braamfontein 2017 South Africa

Port of Ngqura, formerly Port of Coega, is the latest and deepest container loading facility in South Africa, having the highest draft. Transnet National Ports Authority manages the port activities and operations.

  • TEU: 2.0 million
  • Serving regional and national hinterland’s industrial bulk commodity needs (primary purpose)
  • Function as a transshipment hub for freight between Africa’s east and west coasts
  • Top handled commodities are chemicals, manganese, oil, and refined hydrocarbons.
  • Only South African ports with ROD eco authorization for operation and construction
  • Accommodate post-Panamax dry, liquid bulkers, and the new generation of cellular container ships
  • A total of 7 berths are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for annual freight operations.
Port of East London
Port of East London
P O Box 101. East London 5200. South Africa

The Port of East London, originally Port Rex, is located in the heart of the Buffalo River in the East Cape Province, is South Africa’s sole remaining river port. It has excellent rail and road connections to the hinterland. Its geographical coordinates are 27º 55′ E, 33º 1′ S.

  • TEU: 90 000
  • Marine services are available from 06h00 to 22h00
  • Most giant export grain elevators (recently modified to handle imports and exports)
  • Possess 12 river berths (10 operable) are available; drafts 9.1 – 10.4m
  • Comprise (3) container loading, (2) general cargo, (3) ro-ro terminals;
  • (1)Liquid loading and (1) bulk loading terminal are available
  • Own exclusive 8,300 square foot facility; 2,000 square meters available for unit storage facilities
  • Over 180 cameras are used for autonomous network monitoring and security functions
Port of Mossel Bay
Port of Mossel Bay
55 Bland St, Mossel Bay, 6506, South Africa

The Port of Mossel Bay is the bit commercial harbors along the South African coast, located midway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. Today, Mossel Bay is a bustling port serving the fishing industry and the nascent oil industry.

  • TEU: N/A
  • Comprise two offshore mooring buoys within port restrictions
  • Harbour entry channel is -8m deep, 6.5meter is the maximum permissible draught
  • Ships anchored outside of port must stay clear of the entrance channel’s approaches
  • Quay 4 can accommodate vessels up to 130 meter
  • A slipway for vessels up to 200 tonnes is available
  • Top import commodities include white oils, sugar, timber, and general goods
  • Principal exports are canned goods, ores, and minerals
  • Over 2,000,000 tonnes of cargo are handled annually
Port of Saldanha
Port of Saldanha
Private Bag X1 Saldanha 7395. South Africa

The Port of Saldanha is located 60 nm north-west of Cape Town on South Africa’s west coast. It is one of Africa’s primary ore exporting ports, with the capacity to handle ships weighing up to 200 000 tons of DWT.

  • TEU: 12,500
  • Southern Hemisphere’s most significant and deepest natural port
  • Capable of accommodating boats with a draft of up to 21.5 meters
  • Features a purpose-built rail link that connects the facility directly to shipment
  • South Africa’s only iron ore handling port
  • Comprise crude storage facility, heavy minerals smelter, and base metal mines
  • Chief exports include coiled, iron ore, galvanized steel, granite, etc
  • Ore and tanker jetties can accommodate ships with a tonnage of up to 300,000 DWT
  • Composed with a semi-automated conveyor loading system in place
  • The facility routinely handles 60 million metric tons of cargo per year
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