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Durban has become a major city in South Africa, with the port being the busiest on the African continent and the biggest in terms of container capacity. Strategically placed on the world shipping routes, the port plays a pivotal role in the life of the city.


The port of Durban is situated on the east coast of Africa, 680 nautical miles northeast of Cape Agulhas, and is one of the few cities in the world where the harbour is located a mere block from the central business district. It has 57 berths and over 4,000 commercial vessels call at the port each year. Although it was primarily developed for import cargo, cargo flows have changed significantly and exports have become more important.


Durban port handles 31.4 million tons of cargo worth more than R50 billion every year. 44% of South Africa’s break-bulk cargo and 61% of all containerised cargo flows through the port of Durban and an average of 83,000 containers per month, are handled at the port of Durban Container Terminal, the largest in the southern hemisphere.


Port details


  • The port is protected by the north and south breakwaters, which are 335m and 700m long respectively.
  • The water surface is 892 hectares at high tide and 679 hectares at low tide.
  • Distance around the port is 21km.
  • Rail tracks total 302 km.
  • Latitude 29° 52’S, Longitude 31° 02’E.
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