30 Sep 2021

Changes to liquid and dry bulk operations in Richards Bay and Durban, South Africa

by Tony Edwards, Partner, Durban, Allan Heydorn, Partner, Richards Bay,
Practice Area(s): Shipping & Logistics |

Transnet Limited, the state-owned corporation which controls the ports, railway infrastructure and pipelines in the Republic of South Africa, has during the past months explained its long-term plans to relocate its liquid and dry bulk operations from the port of Durban to that of Richards Bay.


The reasons given for such departure from the status quo, as reported in the media, are as follows:


  1. It would create space for the port of Durban to expand its container terminal facility. According to the national ports master plan, Transnet aims to grow such facility into the biggest specialised container hub in the southern hemisphere in the next decade.


  1. Richards Bay is well positioned to process and export gas yielded by substantial gas fields off the Mozambican coast (and potential gas resources off the east coast of South Africa). The goal is to establish storage and import facilities for the growing natural gas sector.


  1. The Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (RBIDZ), which aims to attract international and domestic investments through tax and duty free incentives, is in close proximity to the port.


  1. The port of Richards Bay is better equipped to handle liquid and dry bulk than the port of Durban.


  1. Ample space is available and liquid bulk lease sites and berths have already been identified in the South Dune precinct for the proposed expansion.


We will report on this further as the developments unfold.