Plans to expand the KwaZulu-Natal ports – which are expected to position KZN ports at the international forefront – have been approved by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) board.

According Transnet, the expansion will see some R100 billion spent on the Durban and Richards Bay ports.

“The expansion plans…seek to position the Durban Port as an international container hub that will boast an increased container capacity of 11.4 million TEUs [twenty-foot equivalent units] and automative capacity exceeding 900 000 units.

“The Richards Bay Port is being positioned as a dry bulk port and the plans are also aligned to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy’s strategic plan 2020-2025, which features a new berth for handling Liquified Natural Gas as a cleaner alternative to coal for power generation.

“Some of the bulk dry terminals and mineral-handling facilities are also earmarked for relocation from the Port of Durban’s Island View and Maydon Wharf Precincts to the Port of Richards Bay,” the ports and rail company said.

Transnet said the approval of the expansion plans follows “two major milestones” that TNPA has passed over the past year.

“During the month of July, a detailed validation process of the Port of Durban by the KZN Logistics Hub programme was concluded. This process was carried out under the supervision of the World Bank by international independent consultants, Maritime and Transport Business Solutions and PDRW Consulting Port and Coastal Engineers.

“The validation process is done to confirm the feasibility of the plans by independent experts and determine whether the presented business case is indeed achievable. In both instances, the independent consultants have confirmed feasibility of both plans,” Transnet said.