Small Grant Research Papers

Is Durban's Port Expansion Really Necessary?

  • Year: 2015
  • Organisation: TIPS
  • Publication Author(s): Jack Alban Dyer
  • Countries and Regions: South Africa

As vessels and seaports - conduits for international trade growth, serving over 90% of world commerce - ascend to ever greater significance in a cost-conscious world reeling from the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, the concepts of port efficiency and productivity matter more and more, especially in configuring optimal port designs.

This paper attempts to illuminate this in considering the extent to which Durban's International Airport (DIA) and other port expansion/modernisation projects under consideration in ports throughout the world from Santos to Maputo, Bagamoyo, Singapore and Los Angeles, are really necessary. The alternative approach is to prioritise enhancing existing efficiency as a more feasible substitute. It seeks to outline the consequences of Durban's proposed port development for the current and DIA dugout port site as a prototype to determining the extent to which a proposed port expansion is really necessary, economically feasible or desirable from a key port user perspective. It summarises a UKZN Master's Dissertation. It does so through outlining a timeline of port developments including future plans, a projected demand-supply, cost benefit analysis, through identifying the potential port user requirements, constraints to existing efficiency and concerns. The economic, environmental, traffic and transport and other general consequences of the proposed port development along with possible recommendations and solutions are also outlined.

This paper falls under the TIPS Small Grant Research Papers initiative and is based on Jack Dryer's work for his masters thesis. Note, however, that the research pieces posted are not edited by TIPS but are the responsibility of the student and supervisor. 

For more on this see TIPS Development Dialogue: Linking back of port operations to city development plans and supporting the growth of the marine engineering sector