Durban is the main gateway port of Africa. It is the largest port in Africa, which concentrates more than two thirds of the total container traffic to and from South Africa. It has strong maritime connections with the rest of the world: it has both a central position in port networks and a large diversity of connections with other ports.
Durban, also called eThekwini, serves as the main gateway for the Gauteng metropolitan area (which includes Johannesburg), other regions in South Africa as well as other sub-Saharan countries, in addition to serving its own metropolitan area (the eThekwini/Mzunduzi area), the largest metropolitan economy on the South African coastline. It handled 2.6 million containers1 in 2012, twice as much as in 2000.
In order to accommodate foreseen maritime traffic demand, a new port has been planned for Durban (the digout port), estimated to be operational from 2020. This port project will most likely take the form of a public-private partnership, which would have important ramifications for the sustainability of the current institutional framework of the port of Durban. Transnet is investigating an option for public-private partnership. The project provides a window of opportunity to consider competition within the eastern ports system of South Africa and tackle some of the current distortions including the combination of operational and regulatory roles and the limited autonomy of Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA). It might also ease some of the current pressure on the port-city interface: examples of other city-ports creating new sites have shown shifts of port cargo to the non-urban port.
The Competitiveness of Ports in Emerging Markets: The case of Durban, South Africa is the title of the port study written by PortEconomics member Jean-Paul Rodrigue, Jasper Cooper (Columbia University and Sciences Po, Paris) and Olaf Merk (ITF/OECD). The study was made possible by a voluntary contribution of Transnet (South Africa) and was prepared under the auspices of the OECD Territorial Development Policy Committee (TDPC) and approved in the OECD Working Group on Territorial Policies in Urban Areas (WGTPUA) that took place in June 2013 in Paris, France.
You may download the report by following the link.