02 Nov 2018

Update: Port of Richards Bay Floating Dock

by Tony Edwards, Partner, Durban, Allan Heydorn, Partner, Richards Bay,

It has been reported in local online trade newspapers Africa Ports & Ships and FTW Online that the green light of official approval has at last been given for the construction of the long-awaited multi-million rand floating dock at the port of Richards Bay. 

The new floating dock facility will be located in the vicinity of the port’s Small Craft Harbour.  It forms part of the ZAR4.4 billion (approximately US$300 million) capital investment announced by the TNPA last year.

The construction project will be approached in two streams: the first being the infrastructure development and the second a concession to a private sector operator to supply and operate the floating dock.

Transnet National Port Authority (“TNPA”), a state-owned company which is effectively the “landlord” of all the South African commercial ports including the port of Richards Bay, will be supporting the project by undertaking the dredging, marine infrastructure and bulk landside infrastructure developments.

Once complete, the facility will be able to accommodate Capesize vessels.  This will require upgrades to the existing Small Craft quay and extensive deepening of the berth from its current 8.5 metres to a planned 10 metre depth.

The project has been assigned a targeted operational date of April 2022.

The floating dock project is one of the initiatives of the South African Government’s Operation Phakisa (meaning “hurry up” in Sesotho), a programme aimed at unlocking the potential of South Africa’s Oceans Economy.  The Programme Director, Mr Ricky Bhikraj, said that the new development will ensure that the port of Richards Bay is able to enter the ship repair market for typical vessels that call there and will grow a base for wider marine manufacturing at Richards Bay.