Oct 8, 2012 – Johannesburg — A strike by truck drivers is set to spread to rail and port workers this week, the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) said.
The Port of Richards Bay, the largest coal export terminal in the world, is located approximately 160km north-east of Durban and 465km south of Maputo, on the eastern seaboard of South Africa.
The establishment of the port 30 years ago has transformed a small fishing village into a dynamic industrial city, and a new berth has opened every second year.
To date the port has handled in excess of 1.3 billion tonnes of coal and a further 500 million tonnes of other raw materials and cargo.
The average throughput is over 80 million tonnes annually, which represents an impressive 60% of South Africa’s total seaborne cargo. There are five dedicated cargo-handling terminals at which approximately 1700 vessel calls are made each year. Port of Richards Bay has an entrance channel 300m wide with a permissible draft of 17.5m, and open storage for 6.7 million tonnes of coal.
The port boasts four bulk ship loaders and a massive 58km conveyor belt system on the stockyard side.
Major developments already underway include an additional bulk liquid handling berth and a ship repair facility. Container traffic for the hinterland is handled through the sister port in Durban, situated 160km south, however there is a project at preliminary design stage for a 50,000 TEUs container handling facility.
A massive US$140 million investment strategy to expand the coal terminal capacity to 92 million tonnes per annum is at an advanced stage.