Port of Durban Records Growing Cargo Volumes

The Port of Durban has noted growth in volumes in the container, liquid bulk and dry bulk sectors in 2018, according to recent data released by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA).

Container volumes in the Port of Durban ended 9.5% higher for the year ending December 2018 at 2 956 670 TEUs compared to the 2 699 978 TEUs handled in 2017. Of this, container imports grew by 10% in 2018 and exports by 17%. These are the highest volumes handled by the port in the last seven years.


Dry bulk volumes grew by 5.8% from 2017 to 2018, driven mainly by dry bulk exports while imports remained fairly stable. The biggest growth in imports was seen from rice and associated products, wheat, malt, fertiliser products, coal and coke, while maize, sugar and chrome ore exports also bolstered dry bulk volumes.

Liquid Bulk volumes grew 3.1% from 28.231 kilolitres in 2018 to 29 million kilolitres in 2019. This was mainly attributed to demand factors as well as South Africa being a net importer of crude.

The port also noted growth in its automotive throughput with imports growing by 4% and exports by more than 15% year on year excluding transhipment and coastwise cargo. The Port of Durban has handled a total of just over 487 000 units in 2018 which is the highest since 2013 when a throughput of 503 000 units was recorded.

Breakbulk volumes in 2018 were relatively on par with 2017 volumes. Throughput in this sector is erratic with some cargoes also migrating to other forms of handling such as the containerisation and dry bulk sectors.

Port of Durban Acting Port Manager, Nokuzola Nkowane, said: “The Port of Durban continues to work with terminal operators and other stakeholders to ensure improvements in terminal productivity levels for quicker ship turnaround times. Operational efficiencies are the focus to drive volume performance.”

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