Durban, the port city for Southern Africa

Durban, the economic capital of KwaZulu-Natal, is the third biggest city in South Africa. This metropolis, with 3.5 million inhabitants, is the maritime gateway for the province of Gauteng 500 km away, where the majority of the country’s economic activity is concentrated.

Durban produces more than 70% of the wealth of the province, and 10% of South Africa’s GDP. Its three pillars are tourism, transport and industry, especially petro-chemicals, agro-foods, cars and metallurgy.

With an annual volume of nearly 80Mt, Durban is in many respects a giant among African ports. It is the continent’s biggest container port, with 2.7M TEU handled in 2013. Based on future projections of its success, the port has announced ambitious development projects, particularly in the Bayhead area to the south of the bay. There has been intense work to reach agreements between the city and its inhabitants over these projects, particularly on environmental issues. They are now incorporated into a common Port-City strategy.

In the eastern section of the port, known as The Point, cruise ship activity is increasingly important. In this area, urban redevelopment has been carried out to provide spaces for leisure, relaxation and accommodation. The steady growth of this district will be maintained to match the pace of port reconfiguration, to ensure a win/win balance between port and city. This is symbolic of a shared port-city vision, and illustrates a port-city which is building on tourism and the shipping industry at the same time !

The World Conferences of AIVP

Organized every two years, the World Conferences of AIVP gather between 400 and 600 participants. The World Conferences are intended for port and urban decision-makers (elected representatives and technical experts), researchers and academics, as well as economical and institutional partners of the port areas’ development. These conferences have for main objectives to develop some practices and know-how but also to be a showcase of port’s projects or realizations, to exchange experiences between decision-makers and other economic actors for the ports’ development, to increase institutional and public authorities’ awareness of the main assets of the port area and finally, to reinforce transversal exchanges between the various decision-makers in order to initiate consultation and new working methods.

  • In 2008, the 11th AIVP World Conference was held in Stockholm (Sweden) on the theme: "Cities and Ports innovating for an inter-dependent future".
  • In 2010, the 12th AIVP World Conference was held in Buenos Aires and Rosario (Argentina) on the theme: "New World, New Challenges".
  • - En 2012, the 13th World Conference of the AIVP was taken place in Nantes Saint-Nazaire (France) on the topic "The port’s news era" .


AIVP is the only international organization that, for 25 years, has been bringing together all the development stakeholders in port cities. AIVP has the privilege of bearing witness to the changes underway in cities and ports the world over. We accompany port cities in the implementation of new strategies that allow them to more effectively face up to the changes that impact economic, social and environmental development in port cities.

AIVP guarantees :

  • An approach based on solidarity between world port cities ;
  • Numerous opportunities to share experiences ;
  • Technical and scientific knowledge ;
  • Targeted, up-to-the-minute news on port cities ;
  • A source of expertise ;
  • International recognition.

The Indian Ocean Observatory for Ports and Cities

The Indian Ocean Observatory for Ports and Cities was created in 2009. Its main objective is to allow for the consolidation, on a regional scale, of a local strategy for the development of port cities and their ports. Besides acting as a framework for the exchange and sharing of knowledge, the Observatory wishes to contribute to the formalisation of a regional identity for port cities in the Indian Ocean.