Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) continues with the maintenance dredging of the Durban Port, pushing forward with the $150 million dredging fleet replacement program.
Port of Durban Harbor Master, Captain Alex Miya, has just reinstated a number of berths in the port back to their original permissible depths. Four out of eight berths at Durban Container Terminal have been called back to their original depth of 12.2 meters.
Durban Port Manager, Moshe Motlohi, explained: “The vessels calling at our ports have gotten bigger and therefore require deeper water. But they also cause challenges for ports because of the manner in which they more aggressively displace material from the sea bed, thus causing shallow spots.”
“We are also expecting engineering sounding results that are likely to indicate more berths will be called back to their permissible depths,” said Motlohi. “Ultimately the safety of vessels must take priority for us as TNPA, which is why the Harbor Master took the safety precaution to review the depth of some berths earlier this year.”
While the Impisi continues to dredge the port, the short term plan is for the Italeni grab hopper dredger to continue dredging along the berth pockets of Durban Container Terminal. Italeni will remain in Durban until the port takes delivery of a hired dredger dedicated to its dredging needs.
TNPA will also be taking delivery of its new Ilembe suction hopper dredger in December 2015. The Ilembe will be used for dredging larger areas such as the entrance channels. TNPA has also received approval to build a new grab hopper dredger dedicated to the port which should be delivered by the end of 2016.
The long-term intervention will be TNPA’s project to deepen and lengthen the berths to cater for the bigger vessels now calling at the port. This project is expected to commence in 2016.
Lengthening of the berths will allow the Port of Durban to berth three big vessels versus two it is currently accommodating. This will immediately reduce the number of vessels waiting at anchorage, thereby improving port turnaround time.
The other benefit is that the port will cease to be a tidal port, so that berthing and sailing will no longer depend on high tide. This will optimize the capacity of the port and improve the total vessel stay in South African waters.