SAPO - Durban Car Terminal

Tel: 031-3618702
Fax: 031-3618388
Contact Person: Beverley Masson
Mobile: 083 2839774
Web site:

Physical Address:

Postal Address:

Location: Durban KwaZulu Natal

Terminal operators


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SA Port Operations, also known as 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 13 terminals managed by SAPO include the country's three main container terminals situated at Durban, 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 SAPO relocated its headquarters from Johannesburg to Durban to be closer to the Durban port, one of the larger and busiest harbours 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 13 separate terminals, as follows:

Richards Bay
Multi Purpose Terminal
Dry Bulk Terminal

Durban 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

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 SAPO's status as a key business partner.

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

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 installed throughout all terminals. COSMOS is a software programme used internationally by port operators to provide tracking, documentation, yard planning and control of transportation within the yards as a means of efficiently handling cargo.

A further development was the introduction of a General Cargo Operational System (GCOS) and developed by SAPO - 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 SAPO's own web portal, which is found at

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


SAPO Chief Executive Tau Morwe

Ongoing training & development

SAPO 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 SAPO.

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: SAPO has committed itself as a company to effective management across these functions within the organisation. SAPO 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 contact Raymond van Rooyen, tel +2731 308 8343

Interaction with customers

SAPO 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. SAPO 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 SAPO 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)

SAPO 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 SAPO. 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 SAPO 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 SAPO do?

In short, SAPO handles

  • South Africa's entire seaborne container traffic, which amounted to 2.28 million TEUs (twenty foot container equivalents) during 2003/04
  • The entire motor vehicle imports and exports (over 175,000 units in 2003/04) were handled through two major car terminals at Durban, East London with an additional number handled at Port Elizabeth
  • Thirty-two percent of the country's bulk cargo (for a total of 38.5m tonnes) and 15.6mt (83 percent) of the multi purpose (or general) cargo usually referred to as breakbulk.



SAPO 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 12 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 18mt 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 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 Yunus Ismail, tel +2735 905 3215, email

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 2002/03 a record 25mt was exported - this rose to 27.01mt for the most recent financial year 2003/04. With the inclusion of ore transfers and pellet volumes the terminal handled a total of 28.5mt of ore during 2003/04.

As a result of these increases an expansion programme is 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 require the provision of a second tippler, increasing the stockpile area, a third stacker/reclaimer and additional conveyor capacity to provide more flexibility.

An upgrade programme involves refurbishing the current 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 Iscor Ltd with iron ore for the Saldanha Steel plant situated near the port.

Saldanha Bay's Bulk Terminal is ISO14000 accredited.

During 2003 the bulk (iron ore) terminal handled a total of 28.5 million tonnes.

Contact number for the Saldanha Bulk Terminal is: Mr Mark Topass tel +2722 703 4600, email


SAPO 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, SAPO 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: Mr Justice Luthuli tel +2735 905 3161, email

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 14 berths at Pier 1, the Point and on the T-Jetty, and handles both import and export breakbulk cargo.

The MPT will shortly be consolidated across berths A - M at the Point and T-Jetty. This area includes the new D - G deepwater berths. Pier 1 will then become available exclusively for containerised cargo.

The new City Terminal construction at the Point

The new MPT facilities at the Point incorporate a modern intermodal cargo exchange terminal, a bonded storage facility and expanded cargo and container stacking areas covering about 20 hectares. The historic Queens Warehouse facing on Point Road and backing onto the new cargo handling area is currently being 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 volumes for 2003/04 was: Bulk cargo 550,000 tonnes; Breakbulk cargo 2 million tonnes.

Contact number for the City Terminal is: Mr Ivan Moodley tel +2731 361 8592, email

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

The terminal handled import and export containerised cargo totalling 20,475 TEUs during 2003/04. Bulk cargo totalled 357,738t and breakbulk cargo was 617,527t.

Contact number for the Maydon Wharf MPT is: Mr Victor Mkhize tel +2731 361 3179, email

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 and bulk cargo handled at Port Elizabeth MPT is 2mt annually.

Contact number for the Port Elizabeth MPT is: Mr Siyabulela Mhlaluka tel +2741 507 1955, email

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 2003/04 was 1.170mt

Contact number for the Cape Town MPT is: Mr Earl Peters tel +2721 449 6449, 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 2003 the terminal handled a total cargo of 2.3million tonnes

Contact number for the Saldanha MPT is: Mr Hannes Human tel +2722 703 4710, email


SAPO operates three major container terminals at Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town although containers are also handled at East London and the Durban MPT terminals.

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 in addition to the use of three berths on Pier 1 (part of the existing MPT). DCT has more than 13,000 ground slots and 500 reefer points.

DCT is well connected by road and rail networks. The terminal recently took delivery of 60 new straddle carriers, has a total of 16 shoreside gantry cranes in service - five panamax, eight post-panamax and three super post-panamax (8,000 TEU capacity), and will take delivery during 2005 of three additional shoreside gantry cranes capable of handling container ships of up to 6,500 TEU capacity, bringing the fleet to 19 cranes.

During 2003 DCT handled a total of 1,421,000 TEUs.

Contact number is: Mr Joe Madlala tel +2731 361 6980, email

Port Elizabeth Container Terminal (PECT)

The Port Elizabeth Container Terminal is one of three 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 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 2003/04 PECT handled a total of 282,865 TEUs. The terminal is ISO 9002 accredited.

Contact number is: Mr Siyabulela Mhlaluka 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 a possible increase in the terminal area, although this is subject to environmental approval. A programme of replacing and upgrading terminal infrastructure (shoreside gantry cranes and straddle carriers) is underway.

The terminal currently employs six 40-tonne shoreside gantry cranes with additional cranes planned. There are seven berths - five deep-sea totalling 1,500m and two for coastal vessels (9.4m draft).

In 2003/04 the terminal handled a total of 527,245 TEUs

Contact number is: Mr Oscar Borchards tel +2721 449 5956, email


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. This is expected to increase beyond 160,000 for 2004/05. The terminal occupies a dedicated area with exclusive access to a single berth (R berth) via an overhead bridge and operates a 24-hour, 365 day a year service. A multi level parking facility, commissioned in May 2004 increased the yard capacity to 7,000 motor units. A further addition to the terminal is under consideration.

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

Contact number is: Mrs Beverley Masson tel +2731 361 8702, email

East London Car Terminal

The East London Car Terminal has provision for 2,800 motor units in a modern multi-level facility. The terminal is currently (June 2004) applying for 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.

During 2003/04 East London handled a total of 34,900 motor vehicles.

Contact number is: Mr Pieter Klinkradt tel +2743 700 1117, email

The Port Elizabeth Car Terminal

The Port Elizabeth Car Terminal forms part of SAPO'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: Mr Siyabulela Mhlaluka tel +2741 507 1800, email


SAPO 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).

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 2.6 million tonnes of bulk and breakbulk cargo and 51,200 TEUs during the 2003/04 financial year.

Contact number is: Mr Pieter Klinkradt tel +2743 700 1117, email

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For further background and information about SAPO visit the SA Port Operations main website at