Transnet National Ports Authority
Port of Saldanha
Private Bag X 1
Tel (+27) 022 703 5401
Fax (+27) 086 550 7548
PORT MANAGER: Tel (+27) 022 703 5472
HARBOUR MASTER: Tel (+27) 022 703 5314
PORT CONTROL: Tel (+27) 022 703 5310 (24 hours)
PORT ENGINEER: Tel (+27) 022 703 5464
CUSTOMER SERVICE: Tel (+27) 022 703 5401
ENVIRONMENT: Tel (+27) 703 5449
SA POLICE: Tel (+27) 022 714 8333/4
SEA RESCUE: Tel (+27) 022 714 1726
Transnet Port Terminals (formerly SA Port Operations)
SALDANHA IRON ORE TERMINAL
Tel (+27) 022 703 4105
SALDANHA MULTI PURPOSE TERMINAL
Tel (+27) 022 703 4933
The Port of Saldanha Bay, South Africa's largest natural anchorage and port with the deepest water is 60 nautical miles northwest of Cape Town.
Situated at Longitude 17º 58' E and Latitude 33º 02' S, Saldanha Bay is partly protected by a 3.1km long artificial breakwater.
The Dutch explorer Van Spilbergen visited Saldanha Bay in 1601, and probably only the lack of fresh water prevented this otherwise excellent natural harbour from becoming the major port along the south coast of Africa instead of Cape Town.
The port has developed into a modern harbour only recently, when it became necessary to facilitate the export of iron ore from the Northern Cape. This required the construction of a railway more than 800km to the mines at Sishen in the Northern Cape and the construction of a deepwater jetty in Saldanha Bay to accommodate the Capesize ore carriers.
The first deliveries of iron ore were exported on the vessel Fern Sea during September 1976.
Iron ore - Sishen - Orex
Iron ore is delivered to the port along a dedicated ore railway from the mines near Sishen in the Northern Cape, nearly 900km away. This line was originally built by Iscor and later taken over by Spoornet (now Transnet Freight Rail).
In addition the Saldanha Steel Mill near the port has also been commissioned for the export of steel manufactured from more than 1mt of iron ore which is railed direct to the mill.
The total area occupied by the port (land and water areas) is 18,300 ha with an outer boundary of 91km.
The port also houses the South African Naval Station of SAS Saldanha as well as a NSRI rescue station and a fishing harbour. Saldanha Bay is open in all weathers although adverse weather can affect operations.
The port of Saldanha Bay accepts vessels of up to 20.5m draught although the harbour master conditionally accepts vessels with a draught of 21.5m. The port entrance channel is dredged to a depth of -23m Chart Datum and -23.7m CD at the commencing of the entrance channel. The entrance channel has a minimum width of 400m. The turning basin seaward of the jetty has a diameter of 580m and a depth of -23.2m CD.
The draught at the multi purpose quays is 12m for berth 201 and 13.5m for berths 202 and 203. Pilotage is compulsory and tugs are required for ship working.
Saldanha Bay is served by a fleet of four tugs assisted by others sent from Cape Town when required (vessels exceeding a draught of 19m require four tugs). The Saldanha based tugs are named JUTTEN, MARCUS and MEEUW and are 1976-built Voith Schneider tractor tugs each with a bollard pull of 43 tonnes. The former Cape Town tug CHARDONNAY (ex WH Andrag) is also now based here as well as recently built 70-ton bollard pull tugs ex Southern African Shipyards, CORMORANT and OSPREY.
Pilotage service is compulsory and is provided by a 1972-built diesel-powered pilot boat named INYONI (ex RP Jackson) and a 2013-built Damen-designed and built pilot boat named AVOCET (2013). The port has a 2012-built twin-screw work boat named CRESTED TERN and two launches named Sysie and Dikkop.
During the calendar year 2015 the Port of Saldanha Bay handled a total of 618 ships with a total gross tonnage of 40,225,933-gt.
In 2015 cargo handled by the port totalled 71,819,867 tonnes, including oil imports. The bulk of the cargo handled however was iron ore for export. Of the total cargo, 70,843,652t was made up of bulk cargo (63,583,417t exports; 7,260,235t imports), and 976,215t breakbulk (718,780t exports and 257,435t imports). An amount of 219,714t of cargo was transhipped. The port recorded no containers handled during 2015.
As with all other South African ports, Saldanha Bay is a common user port. The port has a 990m long jetty containing two iron ore berths linked to the shore along a 3.1km long causeway/breakwater. There is also an 874m long multipurpose quay for the handling of breakbulk cargo and a 365m tanker berth at the end of the ore jetty with a permitted draught of 21.25m alongside.
The iron ore jetty is 630m long with a permitted draught of 21.25m alongside. The multi purpose quays (berths 201-203) are a total of 874 long with a max draught permitted between 12m and 13.4m. Cargo handled at the multi purpose terminal includes various mineral exports, steel coils and pig iron. Imports include anthracite, coking coal and steel pellets.
Port control operates 24 hours a day. There are no bunkering facilities at Saldanha Bay. A full diving service is available for ship inspection and other services but ship repair is limited mainly to the fishing industry. Large ship repairs can however be carried out by services provided from Cape Town.
The port has a full chandling and stevedore service available. Saldanha Bay has yachting marina facilities and a NSRI base for sea rescue.
Transnet has announced several ambitious plans for Saldanha Port which include facilities for ship and oil rig repair and to cater for the various aspects of the developing oil and gas industry. More details of these are expected to be forthcoming.