Since it was built as a conduit for South Africa’s coal exports in 1967, the Port of Richards Bay has expanded rapidly. Its establishment has given rise to a dynamic industrial city. Today it is South Africa’s leading bulk cargo handling port. The port now serves a hinterland comprising northern KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Mpumalanga.
From its initial role as a coal export facility, the port has diversified into the handling of other cargoes. Currently, Richards Bay handles in excess of 80-million tons annually. This is approximately 60% of South Africa’s seaborne cargo. This makes it South Africa’s leading port in terms of volumes handled. To date, the port has handled in excess of 1.8-billion tons of cargo of which coal represents 1.4-billion tons.
The port hosts six cargo handling terminals equipped to ensure that our clients can compete in the global arena:
>> The Dry Bulk Terminal, operated by Transnet Port Terminals, imports and exports a variety of ores, minerals and woodchips;
>> The Multi-purpose Terminal, also operated by Transnet Port Terminals handles a variety of breakbulk cargoes, including ferrochrome, pig iron, steel, forest products, granite, aluminium, bagged cargo, containers, heavy lifts and abnormal loads;
>> Richards Bay Coal Terminal Company Limited, is the largest single export coal terminal in the world with the capacity to export 82-million tons per annum;
>> The Island View Storage Richards Bay (Pty) Ltd, handles a wide range of bulk liquids stored in tanks;
>> Richards Bay Bunker Terminal, operated by Joint Bunker Services, imports bunker fuel from Durban and Cape Town;
>> Private facilities: Phosphoric acid export loading
facility and liquid pitch import facility.
Caution should be exercised in high south-westerly and north-easterly winds, as
ships have lost their anchors in the past.
One of the port’s inherent strengths is its deep-water infrastructure, with a maximum permissible draught of 17,5 metres. This coupled with the high-tech state of the art terminal infrastructures allows for high speed, high volume cargo handling and a fast turn around of vessels. Port Development Framework The Port is the largest in South Africa, however, to date, only 70% of the lettable land has been developed. It has the potential to develop over time into one of the largest global ports by expanding up the Mhlathuze
River floodplain. The Port Development Framework guides the spatial development of the Port. The following planned developments are receiving attention:
Ship repair facilities
>> Additional bulk liquid handling berth;
>> Ship repair facility;
>> Additional berths for break bulk and dry bulk;
>> Container handling facility at an existing berth;
>> Upgrading of roads and services;
Numerous additional development proposals are being addressed. Various construction projects are taking place at the port, the most important being the berth 306 completion for steam coal exports. This additional berth will allow the Richards Bay Coal Terminal Company Ltd to increase steam coal exports from 72 to 82-million tons per annum.