TNPA invests R233m in Port of Durban trucks-ravaged road infrastructure

File photo of a traffic jam around Maydon Wharf, Durban.

File photo of a traffic jam around Maydon Wharf, Durban.

Published Mar 12, 2024


Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) said yesterday it would invest R233 million in the rehabilitation of roads in key container-handling port precincts – the Container and Maydon Wharf and the liquid bulk Island View precinct – due to the intensified pressure posed by an influx of trucks on the Port of Durban’s road infrastructure.

The Port of Durban is a crucial contributor to the economy, handling about 60% of the country’s total container volumes.

Most of the container volumes handled are moved through the Southern Road Network of the port and over the years the influx of trucks entering the port has substantially increased. The intensified surge has led to the deterioration of the overall road infrastructure.

Acting TNPA port manager for the Port of Durban, Nkumbuzi Ben-Mazwi, said in a statement that embarking on this road rehabilitation journey would ensure that the corporation delivered on its mandate of providing port infrastructure to ensure the port’s efficient functioning as the economic gateway to the South African economy.

TNPA said the improved condition of port roads would positively impact on port operational efficiencies and the smooth flow of traffic in the targeted precincts.

“The Maydon Wharf will take precedence, with 16 roads set for repairs, followed by Island View with three roads and two on Bayhead. In addition to repairing the structural defects, the restoration of functional defects such as surface drainage issues due to damaged manholes and inlets caused by heavy vehicles is included in the project scope,” it said.

A traffic management plan has been devised to assist with redirecting traffic flow during the project implementation period of two years.

A recent World Bank report that was published in 2021 ranked the Ports of Cape Town, Ngqura, Gqeberha, and Durban as four of the five worst ports in the world in operational efficiency, including Durban at number 351 out of 351 ports analysed – rock bottom.

In response to the continued poor performance of the port operations, the government has created a National Logistics Crisis Committee to meet with the president every six weeks to adopt a two-pronged approach to addressing the rail, port and road crises currently undermining growth and job creation in South Africa.

At the beginning of this month, TNPA said it was accelerating the execution of port infrastructure development projects aimed at addressing congestion and increasing capacity at the Eastern Region ports of Durban and Richards Bay.

During the conclusion of its Business-to-Business stakeholder engagement roadshow in Durban, TNPA highlighted progress made under its mega projects portfolio – the KwaZulu-Natal Logistics Hub (KZN LH) and operational projects aimed at easing congestion at the two ports. The flagship KZN Logistics Hub portfolio aims to reposition the ports of Durban and Richards Bay to increase the capacity of handling container, automotive, dry bulk and liquid bulk commodities.

TNPA said it has made headway on two catalytic projects in the region, following the much-needed preparation funding from the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA). At the Port of Durban, TNPA anticipated awarding a service provider for the detailed design and commissioning of berth infrastructure works of the Point Container Terminal Marine Infrastructure and Bulk Services project by next month. The project sought to expand the terminal capacity from 0.2 million twenty-foot equivalent units to 1.8 million TEUs.