- Maritime Services

  - News

  - Ship Movements

  - The Shipping World

  - Cruise News &

  - Events Diary

  - Sea Stories

Naval Review

  Port Operators
Transnet Port

South African ports
  - General Info
  - Durban
  - Richards Bay
  - Cape Town
  - Port Elizabeth
  - East London
  - Mossel Bay
  - Saldanha Bay
  - Port Nolloth

  - Walvis Bay
  - Luderitz

  - Maputo 
  - Beira    
  - Nacala

  - Dar es Salaam 

  - Mombasa 

  - Port Louis 

  - Legal News &

  - Glossary of
     Maritime Terms

   - Useful Links

  - Contact Us

  - Home

  - P
AIA Manual

Receive our

Enter your e-mail address below

Enter your City, Country location below


Web ports.co.za






Transnet Port Terminals:  Head Office is in Durban
tel 2731 308 8333 or fax 2731 308 8302

Chief Executive Officer Mr Tau Morwe tel 2731 308 8300, fax 2731 308 8302, email tau.morwe@transnet.net 

Chief Operations Officer Ms Nosipho Damasane tel 2731 308 8357, fax 2731 308 8312, email nosipho.damasane@transnet.net
Chief Communications Officer Ms Lunga Ngcobo tel 2731 308 8323, Cell 27 083 288 9653 email lunga.ngcobo@transnet,net 

For further background and information about TRANSNET PORT TERMINALS visit the company's main website at

Click Here


TRANSNET PORT TERMINALS (previously known as South African Port Terminals or SAPO) is a division of Transnet Ltd with responsibility of managing a series of cargo handling terminals within the ports of South Africa.

The total of 14 terminals managed by Transnet Port Terminals include the country's four main container terminals situated at Durban (2), Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, three car terminals at Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth (the two at Durban and East London are acknowledged as being world class), and the modern iron ore bulk terminal at Saldanha Bay.
In 2001 Transnet Port Terminals relocated its headquarters from Johannesburg to Durban to be closer to the Durban port, the largest and busiest harbour in southern Africa. Shortly afterwards the various operations at the six commercial ports of Richards Bay, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Saldanha Bay were reorganised into the 14 separate terminals, as follows:

Richards Bay
Multi Purpose Terminal
Dry Bulk Terminal

Durban Container Terminal
Pier 1 Container Terminal
Durban Car Terminal
Multi Purpose Terminal (City Terminals)
Maydon Wharf Multi Purpose Terminal

East London Terminals
(incorporates the Car, Container and Multi Purpose Terminals)

Port Elizabeth
Container Terminal
Multi Purpose Terminal (incorporates the Car Terminal)

Cape Town
Cape Town Container Terminal
Multi Purpose Terminal

Saldanha Bay
Iron Ore Terminal
Multi Purpose Terminal

(see under each terminal for contact details)

The creation of each terminal was directed at ensuring that the company, and as a result the country's ports, are globally competitive. This is being accomplished by attaining sustainable and profitable customer-centric business while improving Transnet Port Teminal's status as a key business partner.

This entailed Transnet Port Terminals moving to a healthy profit base while at the same time re-engineering the business processes to effectively streamline interaction between customers and itself.

A renewal programme including building up the infrastructure, equipment and systems at the terminals to meet customer requirements has been initiated. These projects included the procurement of new straddle carriers, shoreside gantry cranes, reach stackers and other equipment necessary for the efficient handling of cargo. Two state-of-the-art car terminals have been developed at Durban and East London and an electronic communication system known as COSMOS was installed throughout all terminals.  The Navis™ SPARCS N4 system has been introduced at the Pier 1 Container Terminal and TPT is poised to introduce the operating system from a central lcoation in Durban across 21 marine and rail terminals by 2010 to offer a single point-of-entry to customers irrespective of where they conduct their businesss in South Africa.  SPARCS N4 is designed to provide TPT customers with a seamless and integrated service across the port and rail environment. 
An earlier development by TPT was the introduction of a General Cargo Operational System (GCOS) developed internally by Transnet Port Terminals - an advanced system that tracks cargo in the terminal environment and ensures the cargo is loaded onto the right vessel at the right time. GCOS offers instant access to cargo information, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. As a result of the success of GCOS it is possible to access real time information and on-line tracking services on Transnet Port Terminal's own web portal, which is found at http://www.transnetportterminals.net/.

A third information technology system introduced by Transnet Port Terminals is COREBIS, a fully integrated system for electronic invoicing, which saves time, money and administration.


Chief Executive Tau Morwe

Ongoing training & development

Transnet Port Terminals remains committed to a policy of improving performance through skilled, service-oriented employees. The company's Education, Training and Development (ETD) department is continually developing employee skills to improve job satisfaction and increase productivity in the work place. ETD also encourages growth in dedicated areas and helps individuals reach their potential with specific programmes. Some of these include:

Women in Operations: a developmental programme that aims at creating a pool of talented, competent women to assume management positions in technical and operational areas of the business. Women already hold a number of senior positions within the organisation.

Manager Supervisory Development: which focuses on equipping employees with excellent, operational and general supervisory skills.

Business Unit (Terminal) Managers: which is designed to develop management operational efficiency and raise up leaders within the organisation. For contact details refer to the respective Terminals below.

Corporate Strategy & Continuous Improvement: This is a commitment aimed at satisfying customers through consistent and reliable service by placing Continuous Improvement Managers in each of the 13 terminals (also known as business units). The system facilitates service and process improvements by working with stakeholders, employees, customers and suppliers to develop people-based solutions for continuous improvement to services.

Lifestyle Management Programme: This programme cannot be stressed more highly and forms the basis of Transnet's strategic plan to combat the epidemic and proactively manage the impact of HIV/Aids on the business.

The programme involves voluntary counselling, medication and blood testing for employees.

SHEQ - Safety, Health, Environment and Quality: Transnet Port Terminals has committed itself as a company to effective management across these functions within the organisation. Transnet Port Terminals recognises that all the factors within SHEQ are linked and each is a dimension of a single management system.

As a result the ISO 9001 (quality standard), ISO 14001 (environmental standard) and OHSAS 18001 (safety and health standard) are being implemented in all terminals in a phased approach.

For further information about SHEQ contact Raymond van Rooyen, tel +2731 308 8343

Interaction with customers

Transnet Port Terminals maintains a marketing division that seeks to optimise relationships with customers. A key account management concept facilitates communication with key customers on a one-to-one basis. Transnet Port Terminals also focuses on developing markets and exploring new business opportunities via its business development approach, while the cluster initiative enables customers and clients to be classified according to certain criteria. This facilitates the sharing of relevant information of mutual interest and benefit.

Additionally Transnet Port Terminals encourages the establishment of forums that meet regularly with customers and other stakeholders and facilitates efficient levels of cooperation within the ports and terminals.

Black Economic Empowerment (BEE)

Transnet Port Terminals has embarked on a deliberate and systematic process of promoting opportunities for black South Africans to participate meaningfully in the mainstream of the country's economy.

Attainable targets are set for each financial year. A number of initiatives take place aimed at assisting black business in doing business with the company. These include workshops that provide an overview of the organisation and the various terminal operations as well as insights into opportunities available to BEE business with ideas on how suppliers could become involved. Other initiatives highlight Transnet Port Terminals policies related to doing business with women and the disabled, in addition to covering basic issues such as payment terms, procedures and processes.

THE TERMINALS (Business Units)

What does Transnet Port Terminals do?

In short, it handles

  • South Africa's entire seaborne container traffic, which amounted to 3.797 million TEUs (twenty foot container equivalents) during 2008
  • The entire motor vehicle imports and exports (over 400,000 units in 2008) were handled through three major car terminals at Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth
  • Roughly one third of the country's bulk cargo and approximately 85 percent of the multi purpose (or general) cargo usually referred to as breakbulk.


Transnet Port Terminals operates two dry bulk terminals, at the ports of Richards Bay and Saldanha Bay.

Richards Bay Dry Bulk Terminal

Situated in the country's largest port the Richards Bay Dry Bulk Terminal currently handles about 13 million tonnes of dry bulk cargo annually for import and export, consisting mainly of ores and mineral cargo.

The terminal has the use of three import berths and five export berths. Total throughput capacity is being ramped up to handle a capacity of up to 21mt per annum. Extensive use is made of multiple use conveyor systems, which requires thorough cleaning after each commodity.

The terminal has adequate storage facilities in the open, under shed, as well as the use of bin and silos for pre-sorting of export cargo.

Equipment includes bulk shiploaders, woodchip loaders, grab unloaders, pneumatic ship unloaders and 7 mobile cranes.

Export products include: andalusite, chrome, copper concentrate, ferro fines, fertiliser, rock phosphate, rutile, titanium slag, vanadium slag, vermiculite, wood chips, and zircon.

Imports include: alumina, coking coal, fertiliser products, metallurgical coke, petcoke, rock phosphate, salt, and sulphur.

Contact number for the Dry Bulk Terminal is: Mr Seleko Mametse, tel +2735 905 3210, email seleko.mametse@transnet.net

Saldanha Bay Bulk (Iron Ore) Terminal

The Bulk Terminal at the port of Saldanha Bay, which processed its first shipment of iron ore in 1976, currently handles an average of 14 Capesize bulk vessels each month at a rate in excess of its design capacity. The terminal utilises two berths. During 2008 34mt of bulk cargo, mainly iron ore was exported. A further 1.7mt of transshipment bulk cargo was also handled.

As a result of these increases an expansion programme is almost continuously underway that focuses on increasing export capacity in line with customer demand and includes several projects aimed at increasing efficiency as well as throughput. These has required the provision of a second tippler, increasing the stockpile area, a third stacker/reclaimer and additional conveyor capacity to provide more flexibility.

Recent upgrade programme included refurbishing the conveyor system and the replacement of two existing stacker/reclaimers and shiploaders. A key element of this refurbishment and expansion project is a planned maintenance programme that will ensure improved reliability, continuity and productivity.

The terminal also provides the adjacent Saldanha Steel plant with iron ore.

Saldanha Bay's Bulk Terminal is ISO14000 accredited.

Contact number for the Saldanha Bulk Terminal is: Mr Lionel Kruger tel +2722 703 4600, email lionel.kruger@transnet.net


Transnet Port Terminals operates multi purpose terminals (MPT) dealing with breakbulk cargo at the ports of Richards Bay, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Saldanha Bay, as well as breakbulk cargo within the combined port operations at East London. Although volumes at MPTs are decreasing in line with a worldwide tendency towards containerised cargo, Transnet Port Terminals is continuing to invest in terms of skills and infrastructure at these important port cogs. The respective MPTs are:

General view of shipping at a MPT terminal

Richards Bay Multi Purpose Terminal

Richards Bay MPT specialises in raw and semi-processed materials such as steel, ferro alloys and forest products. The terminal currently operates across seven berths in the port. The terminal has extensive warehousing and covered storage area for sensitive cargo and a huge open storage area comprising 330,000m² for cargo handling. A specialised 75,000m² ferro-alloy handling facility is available.

Products handled at the MPT include: ferro alloys, steel, scrap metal, pig iron, aluminium, project cargo, pitch coke, granite, forest products, containers, loose bulk, and general cargo.

The MPT terminal operates 24 hours a day and is open for 363 days a year. Annual throughput in 2003 was 5.6mt

Contact number for the Richards Bay MPT is: Ms Nikki Mbengashe tel +2735 905 3209, email nikki.mbengashe@transnet.net

Durban Multi Purpose Terminal (MPT)

The port of Durban has two multi purpose terminals handling breakbulk products including steel, ferro-alloys, forest products, granite, rice, fruit, salt, fertiliser and containers.

Durban Multi Purpose Terminal (MPT) is the largest cargo handling facility in the port, operating across 6 berths at the Point (City Terminal), and handles both import and export breakbulk cargo.

The MPT has been consolidated across berths A - E at the Point and is a relativle new deepwater development, although berths F, G and M are now used for motor vehicle handling.

The new City Terminal construction at the Point

The Point MPT facilities incorporate a modern intermodal cargo exchange terminal, a bonded storage facility and expanded cargo and container stacking areas. The historic Point Railway Station builidng facing on Point Road and backing onto the new cargo handling area has been developed as offices and operations centre for the City Terminal.

Products handled at Durban MPT include steel, ferro-alloys, granite, rice, fruit and containers.

Total breakbulk volumes for the Port of Durban during 2008 was 5.9 million tonnes. 

Contact number for the City Terminal is: Mr Earle Peters tel +2731 361 8592, email earle.peters@transnet.net

Maydon Wharf MPT

The Maydon Wharf MPT operates across a number of berths at Maydon Wharf principally between berths 8 to 13, with a variety of commodities being handled. The focus is on niche cargo including neo-bulks (salt, fertilisers and other mineral products, steel, scrap metal and forest products).

Contact number for the Maydon Wharf MPT is: Mr Earle Peters tel +2731 361 8592, email earle.peters@transnet.net

TPT's Maydon Wharf multi purpose terminal, berths 9 - 12

East London Multi Purpose Terminal

Transnet Port Terminals operates the port of East London as a single terminal catering for bulk, breakbulk, containers and motor vehicles. The port has since become one of the major car terminal ports of South Africa, utilising two dedicated berths and a multi-level covered parking garage for 2,800 motor vehicles linked by direct access to the nearby DaimlerChrysler factory. The car terminal has a capacity for 50,000 motor units annually (see above).

East London also handles grain imports and exports and petroleum imports.

The port consists of 12 berths, handling bulk, breakbulk, containers and motor vehicles. East London has the largest individual grain elevator in South Africa situated alongside two berths on the West Bank facing the port entrance. Containerised and breakbulk cargo is handled on the East Bank - the container terminal facility relies on ship's own gear and has an annual throughput capacity of 90,000 TEUs.

The East London terminals handled motor vehicles, maize, wheat, sunflower seed, bagged rice, forest products (logs), scrap metals, copra cake and livestock.

East London handled a total of 1.934 million tonnes of bulk and breakbulk cargo and 55,413 TEUs during the 2008 financial year.

Contact number for the East London MPT is:  tel +2743 700 1117

Port Elizabeth Multi Purpose Terminal

Port Elizabeth MPT manages the port's breakbulk, bulk and motor vehicle cargoes. These commodities include all types of unitised, free-flowing (ie wheat and maize) and ro-ro (motor vehicle) commodities.

Berths 8, 9, 10 and 11 are utilised for breakbulk cargo and include large sheds providing covered storage. Berth 100 handles stern and quarter ramp ro-ro vessels and forms part of the car terminal operation.

The MPT terminal incorporates the main manganese ore exporting facility in South Africa. Other commodities handled at the MPT include deciduous and citrus fruit, motor vehicles, scrap metal, wheat.

Total breakbulk cargo handled at Port Elizabeth MPT during 2008 was 864,753 tonnes.
Bulk cargo handled during 2008 including manganese ore and petroleum products, which are not handled by the MPT, was 3.822mt.

Contact number for the Port Elizabeth MPT is: Hector Danisa tel +2741 507 1800, email hector.danisa@transnet.net

Cape Town Multi Purpose Terminal

Cape Town MPT is situated within the Duncan Dock area and handles a variety of breakbulk and bulk cargoes including fruit, maize, agricultural products, barley, cement, steel, scrap metal, fish, fertiliser, copper, timber.

The terminal operates across seven berths each handling bulk or breakbulk cargo and is serviced with harbour cranes or ship's own gear. The terminal operates between the hours of 06.00 and 22.00 daily Monday to Friday.

Total breakbulk volume handled at the Cape Town during 2008 was 330,000 tonnes.

Contact number for the Cape Town MPT is: tel +2721 449 2405, email

Saldanha Bay Multi Purpose Terminal

Saldanha Bay MPT caters mainly for the export of steel coils as well as the import of steel pellets. Other commodities handled include granite, pig iron, coking coal and slag.

The Saldanha Bay ore (front) and multi purpose terminals (centre, top)

In 1998 the existing 250m quay wall was extended by an additional 620m to accommodate products of Saldanha Steel and Duferco. The project increased the single berth facility to three berths with a total length of 870m.

The Saldanha Bay Multi Purpose Terminal is ISO14000 accredited.

During 2008 the terminal handled a total breakbulk cargo of 650,500 tonnes

Contact number for the Saldanha MPT is: Mr Hannes Human tel +2722 703 4710, email hannes.human@transnet.net


Transnet Port Terminals operates four major container terminals at Durban (2), Port Elizabeth and Cape Town although containers are also handled at the East London and Durban MPTs. A fifth container terminal will open in October 2009 at the new port of Ngqura.

Durban Container Terminal (DCT)

South Africa's largest and one of the busiest and best equipped in the southern Hemisphere. DCT serves as a pivotal hub for the entire southern Africa region, serving trade links to the Far East, Middle East, Australasia, South America, North America and Europe. The terminal also serves as a transhipment hub for East Africa and Indian Ocean islands.

The terminal has 2,128m of quayside divided into seven berths. DCT has more than 13,000 ground slots and 1000 reefer points.

DCT is well connected by road and rail networks. The terminal operate with a fleet of over 100 modern straddle carriers, has a total of 19 shoreside gantry cranes in service - including post and super-postpanamax cranes able to handle ships of up to 9,200TEU capacity.

During 2008 the port of Durban handled a total of 2.56 million TEUs.

Contact number is: Mr Siya Mhlakula tel +2731 361 6964, email siya.mhlakula@transnet.net

Pier 1 Container Terminal (Durban)

The Pier 1 Container Terminal is now fully operational and includes three berths (105, 106 and 107) although generally only berths 105 and 107 are used. The terminal is equipped with six super-postpanamax gantry cranes backed by a fleet of rubber tyre gantry cranes in the stacking area. The terminal also has modern road and rail access - the latter equipped with rail-mounted gantry cranes to handle block container trains of 50 wagons (100-TEU).

The terminal has a nominal capacity of 700,000 TEU per annum.

Contact number is: Ms Michelle Philips  tel +2731 361 6820, email

an aerial view of the Durban Container Terminal, Pier 1 Container Terminal at top right

Port Elizabeth Container Terminal (PECT)

The Port Elizabeth Container Terminal is one of four specialised container-handling terminals along the South African coastline and serves the immediate hinterland of the Eastern Cape. This includes a major automotive manufacturing region in which knocked-down motor components arrive as containerised cargo for assembly at several motor assembly plants near the city. Assembled and manufactured vehicles are exported in containers to Europe, Australia and Asia. The terminal also handles an increasing volume of transhipped cargo for the other South African ports.

PECT caters for substantial amounts of agricultural products that are exported in containers, including refrigerated fruit. The terminal makes use of three berths totalling 635m and is equipped with four 40-tonne shoreside gantry cranes. There are 4,800 ground slots and 212 reefer points.

The terminal incorporates two sheds providing 7,500m² of storage space for stuffing and de-stuffing of LCL (less than container load) containers.

The terminal has direct rail and road access.

In 2008 PECT handled a total of 398,638 TEUs. The terminal is ISO 9002 accredited.

Contact number is: Hector Danisa  tel +2741 507 1800, email

Cape Town Container Terminal (CTCT)

Cape Town has South Africa's second largest container terminal with a ground slot capacity of 5,250 slots and 1,500 reefer points. This terminal is also the country's premier fruit export terminal handling containerised refrigerated (reefer) cargo as well as other containerised cargo and has become a major transhipment hub for West Africa, South America and other regions.

With a dramatic increase in throughput efforts are being made to increase capacity at CTCT including increasing the stack height of containers and an increase in the terminal area - this work is well advanced. A programme of replacing and upgrading terminal infrastructure (shoreside gantry cranes, straddle carriers and rubber tyre gantries) is also well advanced.

The terminal currently employs six 40-tonne shoreside gantry cranes which are being replaced and augmented with new super-postpanamax gantry cranes capable of handling container vessels of up to 9,200-TEU. There are seven berths - five deep-sea totalling 1,500m and two for coastal vessels (9.4m draft).

In 2006 the terminal handled a total of 782,868 TEUs

Contact number is: Mr Oscar Borchards tel +2721 449 5956, email oscar.borchards@transnet.net  The communciations officer is Ms Mandisa Ngumla Tel 2721 449 2353, email mandisa.ngumla@transnet.net


Durban Car Terminal

The Durban Car Terminal has been awarded ISO9001:2000 accreditation and in May 2004 achieved a NOSCAR occupational safety rating admitting it to the International Top 100 Companies list for demonstrating world class performance in occupational risk management and related systems certifications.

The terminal has continued to expand and during 2003/04 handled a total of 139,189 motor units. By 2006 this had increased to 400,000 units but the latest figures available for the 2008 financial year indicate a decrease to 372,000 motor units. Of this number 184,511 units were imports and 182,091 exports, with 7,423 listed as transips.

The terminal occupies a dedicated area with exclusive access to four berths (F, G, M and R berths) via an overhead bridge and operates a 24-hour, 365 day a year service. A multi level parking facility, commissioned in May 2004 as well as extended open parking at the new City Terminal has increased the terminal parking slot capacity to 14,200 motor units.

The terminal is served by high security road and rail access.

Contact number is: Mrs Beverley Masson tel +2731 361 8702, email beverley.masson@transnet.net

East London Car Terminal

The East London Car Terminal has provision for 2,800 motor units in a modern multi-level facility. The terminal has obtained ISO9001:2000 accreditation.

Vehicles for export are stored in a four-storey building with an annual throughput capacity of 50,000 motor units. Provision exists to extend the terminal building by a further four floors. The terminal is linked to the adjacent DaimlerChrysler manufacturing plant by a dedicated private road and opens onto its own berthing area of two berths.

A port-deepening programme currently underway will permit larger car carrier vessels to access the terminal.

Contact number is: tel +2743 700 1117

The Port Elizabeth Car Terminal

The Port Elizabeth Car Terminal forms part of Transnet Port Terminal's Multi Purpose Terminal and occupies an open but highly secure area within the port confines. The terminal is ISO9001:2000 accredited.

Vehicles for import and export are handled in containers and on Ro-Ro vessels. The terminal includes a washing and de-waxing facility for imported vehicles.

Contact number is: tel +2741 507 1800


The Durban Agriport, is a grain elevator and grain terminal situated on Maydon Wharf berth 8.

The facility also doubles for the handling of export wood chips, a joint venture with NCT Durban Woodchips (Pty) Ltd - tel 031 205 6385. The latter company is situated at 5 Fletcher Road, Maydon Wharf and makes use of the same elevator on berth 8, Maydon Wharf.

Contact number for the Agriport is: Mr Percy Gouden tel 2731 361 2352, email
Contact number for NCT Durban Woodchips is 031 205 6385, email Mr Ferdie Brauckmann, 

Agriport and the NCT Durban Woodchip export terminal