Transnet Due to Commence DCT Berth Deepening Project

Transnet’s forthcoming project to create deeper berths at Durban Container Terminal (DCT): Pier 2’s North Quay will enable the Port of Durban to accommodate newer generation container vessels by 2023.

Addressing stakeholders at a business breakfast in Durban on Tuesday, representatives of Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) and Transnet Group Capital (TGC) provided a project update to stakeholders ahead of anticipated site establishment by end October 2018.

The contract for the multi-billion-rand Main Marine Construction Works package has been awarded to CMI Emtateni Joint Venture, which boasts a Level 2 BEE status and is made up largely of four entities. These include Italian construction company CMC Di Ravenna and its 51% black-owned South African company CMI Infrastructure, which is a 10-year old unincorporated Joint Venture with PG Mavundla Engineering (PTY) Ltd. Also included in the partnership are Omame Emtateni Empowerment Group Consortium, which is a combination of five local, independently owned, black- woman-owned companies that have been working as a collective for the last fifteen years, and Masinya Emtateni Empowerment Group Consortium which was also formed through a combination of five local black companies.

An independent Environmental Compliance Officer (ECO) package was awarded to GIBB to audit environmental compliance on the project.

Transnet Chief Capital Officer, Krishna Reddy, said the R7 billion mega project would help to sustain the existing container operations at the Port of Durban, specifically DCT Berths 203 to 205.

“In the Port of Durban which handles approximately 65% of the total containerised cargo of South Africa, we have a critical need to provide modern, safe, deeper and longer container berths to accommodate the ever-increasing size of container vessels we are now servicing. This will ensure that our flagship Port of Durban and South Africa as a whole remain competitive within the industry, while catering safely for the needs of the marine sector,” he said.

The Main Marine Construction Works to be carried out by CMI include the reconstruction, deepening and lengthening of berths 203 to 205 to provide safe docking capacity. Currently Super Post Panamax vessels 9200 TEU and larger take up two berths on the North Quay, shrinking port capacity, while larger vessels can only enter the channel at high tide. This results in delays and vessel queues at outer anchorage. 

Marine Infrastructure Package

The marine infrastructure work will be executed in three successive phases – commencing with work on berth 205, followed by berth 204 and ending with berth 203. This staggered approach will ensure that the terminal is able to accommodate two vessels at any time between berths 203 to 205, even while one berth is decommissioned.

A new quay wall will be constructed 50m seawards of the existing quay wall, along Berths 203 to 205, which will provide sufficient water depth to safely accommodate larger Post Panamax vessels. The existing quay wall will be deepened from -12.8m to -16.5m Chart Datum Port (CDP) and lengthened from 914m to approximately 1 210m which will allow for the simultaneous berthing of three 350m long Post Panamax Vessels. These berths have been operating beyond their original water depth design specifications.

Dredging will be carried out to deepen the turning basin and approach channel serving Berths 203 to 205 from -12.8m to -16.5m CDP.


Seven existing 80-ton ship-to-shore cranes at DCT: Pier 2 will be modified to suit the profile of the new quay wall structure and to serve berths 205 to 203.

Environmental Authorisation

An independent Environmental Monitoring Committee (EMC) Chair package has been awarded to Smith Ndlovu Summers Attorneys to oversee environmental compliance on the Main Marine Construction works. Once the project activities commence, the independent Environmental Compliance Officer (ECO) will audit compliance against the various environmental permits and will provide feedback to the relevant authorities should there be any non-compliance.

TNPA has undergone a rigorous environmental impact assessment (EIA) process in which interested and affected parties lodged any appeals and concerns, which were responded to in line with regulatory requirements.

“We employed extensive specialist studies to mitigate any socio-economic, health and safety or environmental impacts, drawing on the expertise of experienced marine ecologists, avifauna specialists and climate change experts. Based on our studies and public participation efforts, the Department of Environmental Affairs awarded us with environmental authorisation for marine works in September 2016 and for landside works in October 2016,” said TNPA Chief Executive, Shulami Qalinge.

A coastal water discharge permit was granted in March 2018. Also approved in July 2018 was TNPA’s application for an offshore sand winning license for the mining of sand to be used in the caisson infill. TNPA anticipates that approval will be granted in September 2018 regarding the dumping at sea permit for the disposal of spoil from dredging activities during construction, as well as the commitment to offset by Transnet and the Central Sandbank Monitoring Plan (CSMP).

Socio-Economic Benefits

The procurement sourcing strategy for all the project packages is clearly defined, including focus areas for Supplier Development (SD), B-BBEE Improvement Plans and Local Content (LC) that advance transformation and build capacity among Black Owned (BO), Black Woman Owned (BWO) and Youth Owned (YO) Companies.

CMI has committed a minimum of 40% of the total contract value towards Supplier Development, including the establishment of a 100% black women-owned ready mix concrete supplier to the value of more than R70 million.

In addition, CMI expects to create 380 jobs through this project, of which around 45% will be semi-skilled or skilled, while 55% will be unskilled jobs.

More than R700 million will be invested by CMI to promote small businesses, spanning Black Women Owned, Black Owned, Black Youth Owned, QSEs and EMEs.

In terms of regional spend CMI will invest more than R182 million, with 70% of this ploughed back into building the capacity of black-owned suppliers and installers of rebar and steel reinforcing.

Twenty percent of the regional spend would go towards providing black female owned fuel supply companies with consistent revenue over a sustained period, thereby allowing these companies to increase local market capacity.

For the remaining 10% of its regional spend, CMI has identified various black youth owned companies who can provide materials and services, including construction tools, construction spares and site support, and has also matched the capabilities of five companies owned by people with disabilities to specific activities on the project.

The areas of KZN chosen by Transnet for positive rural integration initiatives through this project are KwaMduzi, Mkuze, Ingwavuma, KwaNgwanase, Manguzi, Jozini and Pongola.


TNPA also hopes to implement Corporate Social Investment projects in areas in and around Durban as a positive offshoot of the DCT Berth Deepening and Lengthening Project.