Durban - These pictures of old and new Durban take in a familiar landmark on the city’s harbour – the bay sugar terminal is one of the largest in the world and the three enormous silos hold as much as 500 000 tons of refined sugar and are capable of loading 800 tons of sugar an hour.
The first terminal designed to hold 200 000 tons of sugar was conceived in 1963 and was opened in 1965. It cost R4 million at the time.
The composition of the terminal is constrained by site limitations alongside the wharf.
It is 250m long and has a 27m high barrel vault. It has 3 000 precast concrete scalloped sections, each 3m wide, and make up the 80 arches which are kept in place by post-tensioned cables threaded through the ribs.
Built alongside the wharf, the arches rest on edge beams, which are themselves supported by steel roller bearings affixed to the caps of the deep caisson piles.
The use of neoprene synthetic rubber resolved the constructional and operational challenge of keeping the ‘giant sugar bowl’ dry in the face of the humid sub-tropical climate.
The two subsequent storage terminals were added in the 1970s. In total the site covers just under 1.6 hectares.
Our photographer, Motshwari Mofokeng, trawled through Glenwood to match the second of the old pictures, showing that the terminals are still very much a feature of the Durban skyline.
The Independent on Saturday