Africa Top 5 Largest Ports

Africa Top 5 Largest Ports

Check out Africa’s Top 5 Largest Ports

Have a look at the ports Africa uses to handle more than 90 percent of its cargo. Let’s dive into Top five!

The African continent uses sea cargo to handle more than 90 percent cargo and its imports and exports from across the globe. Being an exceptionally large content out of the seven in total, Africa has many exceptions, where Suez Canal in Egypt is one of these exceptions.

It is a 102 miles long man-made channel connects two seashores and used for cargo ships coming from Mediterranean sea and red sea region to Arabian sea. This canal saves hundreds of miles travel for those ships.

Going forward, the majority of countries in the African region are not that developed in the many fields of life and need innovation to be done, the maritime field is one of them. It needs development and innovation.

Africa is more than 6 percent of the total surface of the planet earth and more than 70 percent states in African region are directly connected to the sea and this way they hold more than 6 percent waterways of the maritime industry.

More than 6 percent of total traffic out of which half of the container traffic of the world cargo intercepted by the African ports. We have listed top 5 ports of Africa with lots of information about the ports and their facilities and definitely their capacity is also stated below. Let’s see what these ports are and which countries are hosting them.

Port of Durban, South Africa

Country: Republic of South Africa

Province or District: KwaZulu Natal

Town or City (Closest location): Durban

Port’s Complete Name: Port of Durban

Managing Company or Port Authority: Transnet National Ports Authority

Average vessel calls per year:  4,554

Container Traffic (TEUs):  40,477,697

Bulk (Million Tons / year):  34,205,900

Conventional Berths; 31

Berth sizes: 228-meter x 9.6 meter deep berths

Container berths: 10

Berth sizes: 295-meter x 11.9 meter deep berths

Bulk Liquid handling Berths: 9

Berth sizes: 228-meter x 12.8 meter deep berths

container Facilities Available: Yes

Container Freight Station (CFS): Yes

Refrigerated Container Stations: Yes

Daily Takeoff Capacity (Containers per day): No

Number of Reefer Stations (connection points): 80

Cooling chambers: 11 x 27,000 m³

Pre-cooling funnels:  69 x 9,500 m³

Open storage:  4,000 m³

Multi-Purpose Terminals:

Total Storage capacity = 42,000 m³

Load rate (Agricultural) = 500 MT / hr.

Draught available = 9.6 m

Let’s start with Africa’s most popular and most active general cargo port and it is situated in the South African region, it is Durban port. The Durban port is known as the port of the Durban and situated in the central business region of the Durban. This port is the most important seaport of South Africa and plays an imperative role in the economy of the region.

The port of Durban is Africa’s largest container ports and handles the most amount of sea traffic than all other seaports of South Africa. On average, the port of Durban hosts more than 4,500 container ships and 996,000 containers every year. More than 45 billion dollars in-out comes through the port of Durban.

Africa’s Top 5 Largest Ports
Africa’s Top 5 Largest Ports

According to the Durban port management authority, the port of Durban handles more than 44 million tons of cargo every year and it is increasing every year. It is one of the most active ports in the African region and operates 24/7-365 and its channel depth is just under 13 meters on the entrance and it is more than 220 meters wide at the same time.

The width has been widened to 222 meters at the tiniest point. Recently the entrance has been deepened to 19 meters while shallowing to not less than 16 meters inside the bay to handle larger vessels.

The regular callers on the Durban port are 300 meters long and 37-meter beam carriers, they regularly call on the port. In the daylight, port authority restricts the ships to 243m and 35m due to lower draught levels, reduced to 11.9m to 12.2m.

During the night, restrictions changed to 200m and beam height to 26m when draught remained to 11.6 meters. The larger vessels carrying around 230,000 dwt can enter the Durban harbor region but the ships larger than 230,000 dwt handled by the outer anchorage.

The largest vessel handled by the Cargo to Africa is the ULCC tanker weighing 564,650 dwt. This vessel has a length of 458 meters and height of 69 meters received underwater repairs in the outer anchorage region. The terminals and cargo anchorage have different capacities to handle the cargo. There are two types of cargo terminals including one for general purposes and other for grains and bulk handling.

Multipurpose Terminal:

The city terminal or the Multi-Purpose Terminal is known as the Maydon Wharf 5 used for the bulk loading and unloading facilities on the port. This port has following capacities

Total Storage capacity = 42,000 m³

Load rate (Agricultural) = 500 MT / hr.

Draught available = 9.6 m

Subjected to the port authority approval, the vessels also use the rising tide for loading. On the other hand, grain and bulk handling terminals have following facilities. The Maydon Wharf 8 is a dedicated elevator agriculture grain and bulk cargo handling facility for grain products.

Capacity = 34,560 MT

Loading rate = 1,200 MT / hr.

Draught = 10.3 m, 11.5 on rising tide

Discharge rate = 275 MT / hr.

Being the largest container port in the African region, it is necessary to discuss the container terminals as well. The container terminal has been upgraded recently and the terminal capacity has been optimized with more sophisticated equipment. The terminal has 20 straddle carriers and three quayside cranes. The upgrade has increased the capacity to 1.6 million tons from 1.3 million tons every year.

African Seaports are bit slower in the operations and they normally work on 7 to 20 moves per hour, however, the global standard is a bit higher than these cranes. Global standard is 25 moves per hour per crane. Durban port including the South African ports handles more than 23 percent of the total container cargo in Africa.

Port of Kilindini Harbour Mombasa, Kenya

Country: Kenya

Province or District: county of Mombasa

Town or City (Closest location): Mombasa

Port’s Complete Name: Kilindini Harbour, Mombasa

Managing Company or Port Authority: Kenya Ports Authority

Average vessel calls per year:  1340

Container Traffic (TEUs):  894,000

Bulk and breakbulk (Million Tons/year):  30,920,900

Conventional Berths; 23

Berth sizes: 2080 meter x 10-13.5 meter deep berths

Container berths: 6

Berth sizes: 1204 meter x 13.5 meter deep berths

Bulk multipurpose Berths: 17

Berth sizes: 2080 meter x 12.8 meter deep berths

Container Facilities Available: Yes

Container Freight Station (CFS): Yes

Refrigerated Container Stations: no

Daily Take Off Capacity (Containers per day): 670

Number of Reefer Stations (connection points): 120

Bagged Cargo stations: 10

Bagged Cargo Station Area: 90,597 sq. meters

General Cargo stations: 10

General Cargo Station Area: 90,597 sq. meters

Mombasa port is approximately midway between Middle East ports on the red sea and South African port of Durban. The Mombasa port is one of the largest ports in the African region, indeed the largest port in the east African region. The Mombasa port is Kenya’s largest port and works as the main gateway to central Africa and eastern part of the continent. This port serves more than 120 million population of the hinterlands including Burundi, eastern DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Somalia, and the northern part of Tanzania.

With the length of 7 nautical miles and a width of 300 meters, the Mombasa port has a maximum depth of 15 meters and inner harbor tidal range of 3.5 meters. The port has more than 19 berths where different terminals are constructed to handle bulk cargo, grain cargo, and oil cargo. On the other hand, there are 4 container berths to handle container cargo including 20 to and 40 teu containers. At the same time, Mombasa port has 12 berths for general cargo handling as well.

The recent development work on the port has increased the modern look. Port has new equipment and new main entrance channel to handle larger vessels. The port has the ability to handle most advanced Panamax vessels. The Mombasa port is ranked at 117th and in the African ports, its grade is 5th. There are many bottlenecks which are still restricting the operations of the port.

  • For specialized services port has fewer berths
  • Manual labor affecting quick services
  • Rainy season is a big game changer at the port. It slows discharge operations,
  • Timely clearance required correct documentation
  • Average wait time is still more than 3 days

The port has six container berths and all these berths have an open seafront of more than 1204 meters where two container cranes have been installed to load and unload containers. These cranes are fully loaded with most modern gears and gadgets to speed up the operations on the port. The modern cranes are capable of making 25 moves per hour and this world standard for fast business operations at the ports.

Port of Djibouti

Country: Djibouti

Province or District: Djibouti

Town or City (Closest location): Djibouti

Port’s Complete Name: Port of Djibouti

Managing Company or Port Authority: Djibouti Ports Authority

Average vessel calls per year:  1577

Container Traffic (TEUs):  744,000

Bulk and breakbulk (Million Tons/year):  3,772,900

Conventional Berths; 29

Bagging line capacity: Berth 15.

Discharge with silo availability option; 7 MT/day

Average discharge rate: 300 MT per shift

Warehouse storage capacities: 70,000 MT

Bulk Fertilizer Discharge Rate; 3.5mt per day

Silo availability option; Berth 14

Container Facilities Available 20ft: Yes

Container Facilities Available 40ft: Yes

Container Freight Station (CFS) 20ft: Yes

Container Freight Station (CFS) 40ft: Yes

Refrigerated Container Stations 20ft: Yes

Refrigerated Container Stations 20ft: Yes

Djibouti is an important country in the African region and its importance increased because of military operations through the ports of Djibouti. Djibouti ports own a crucial standing in geostrategic, military and economic terms. The Ethiopian trade and transshipment of goods pass through the port of Djibouti. The natural protection of the Djibouti waters and excellent nautical conditions play an imperative role in the breakwater structure and the coral reef colonies near the port break up the water agitation and resultantly they offer excellent conditions for shipping. They offer quiet and deep water in the port. The anchorage depth of more than 10-40 meters can be used and it is even protected by the reefs. These reefs also protect the coastal areas from pollution and these are the only ports where agents need to send manifest 48 hours before the call of the ship.

The DP world management has improved the port performance to the utmost level since their partnership started in 2011. They have introduced different management systems and international managerial expertise to handle the port operations, security, and safety matters and the training of the staff. By these efforts from DP world, the Djibouti port has compliant with the ISPS international ship port facility. More than 28000 security accreditations from the register of Lloyds have been received by the port of Djibouti.

Lagos, Nigeria

Country: Nigeria

Province or District: Apapa Local Government

Town or City (Closest location):  Lagos Island

Port’s Complete Name: Port of Djibouti

Managing Company or Port Authority: APM Terminals/Nigeria Port Authority{NPA}

Average vessel calls per year:  397

Container Traffic (TEUs):  465,000

Conventional Berths; 4

Berth sizes: 1005 meter x 10-13.5 meter deep berths

container berths: 4

Berth sizes: 1005 meter x 13.5 meter deep berths

Containers Facilities Available for 20ft & 40ft; Yes

Containers Freight Station available for 20ft & 40ft; Yes

Refrigerated Container Stations available for 20ft & 40ft; Yes

Daily containers take-off capacity of both 20ft and 40ft Between 100 & 300

Number of Reefer Stations (connection points); 620 reefer plugs that serve both 20’s & 40’s

The port of the Lagos is the economic hub of Nigeria and it is the main player in the GDP growth of the country. The port of Lagos is also known as the Lagos Port Complex of Apapa. This port is located in Apapa area of Lagos in the south-west of Nigeria. The port operational structure is based on the berths and cargo handling stacking along with massive cargo storage areas.

The port of Lagos is one of the leading ports in the African region and it is one of the busiest ports as well. The Nigerian port authority controls the port operations by splitting the port into three different divisions. The Lagos port division is the main section of the port and it is a channel next to the Lagos Island. Apapa port is the site for container terminals and tin can port, these sites are located in Badagry Creek.

Suez Canal, Egypt

Country; Egypt

Province or District; Suez

Town or City (Closest location) with Distance (km); Suez

Port’s Complete Name; Port of Suez (before Port Tewfiq)

Managing Company or Port Authority; Red Sea Port Authority

Vessel Calls; 300

Container Traffic (TEUs); 4,200,000

Handling Figures Bulk and Break Bulk; Bulk (MT) 19,154,524

Conventional Berth; 48

Berth length; 6532 sq. meter

Berth depth; 12.81

Container Berths; 4

Berth size; 732 sq. meter

Berth depth; 12.49

Silo Berths; 3

Berth size; 695 sq. meter

Berth depth; 10.00

The Suez Canal is a canal connecting the Mediterranean Sea with the Gulf of Suez through its 101 miles length. This is also called a northern branch of the red sea. The port is also located in the northern part of the canal.

This area is situated in the southern gate if the canal. It is also an imaginary border extending from Ras Masala to Ras El-Sadat along the canal. The northern coast of the area included in the region till the canal starts. The canal was started in 1869 and since its launch; it has allowed ships to use a shorter route between Europe and Asia.

This canal has reduced thousands of miles distance and skipped the navigation around African continent and reduced the sea voyage between the Arabian Sea and Europe. The SCADA or the Suez Canal Axis development program aimed at the development and the expansion of the canal. This canal will be further expanded under this project to facilitate the sea traffic.

The passenger vessels transit system has been controlled at the port of the Suez quay and it accommodates all the passenger transit of up to 10 meters. There are no restrictions applied to the 8.2-meter ships and they can enjoy a free float in the canal.

However, a written application to the SCA needs to be submitted with the number of passengers on board. The canal authority also demands a written proof of the activities of the passengers on the ship in the same application that who they are and why they are on the ship.

The port authority listens to the ship on the radio frequency of 156,800 MHz for security purposes as there was a threat to the canal in previous years. The port handles more than 970 million tons of cargo on average every year and it is a midway stop to all traffic between Europe and South Asia.

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