Transnet Secures Land for 37-Billion Rand Durban Port Project

Transnet Soc Ltd. has bought the land for a proposed new dug-out port in Durban, South Africa, and will now seek private investment to develop and operate the project, Program Director Marc Descoins said today.

“Transnet has already purchased the old decommissioned Durban airport and is negotiating to purchase 31 more properties needed by the middle of next year,” Descoins said at a conference on maximizing African port capacity in Durban. “The port would need to be promulgated, environmental authorization obtained and then we can make a final decision on the role that private investment will play.”

The state-controlled ports and rail operator plans to build the new Durban terminal and develop an older one as part of a 37-billion rand ($4 billion) plan scheduled for completion by 2050. Transnet is spending 300 billion rand over seven years to upgrade and expand infrastructure around the country.

The company, based in Johannesburg, is also in the process of developing Salisbury Island, a decommissioned naval base on an island in the middle of Durban bay, in order to further increase sea-cargo capacity in the city. The new complex is designed to be the largest container port in Africa.

“Container sizes have doubled in the last decade,” Descoins said. Durban can currently handle the largest vessels able to pass through the Panama Canal, although new models may be too large, he said.

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