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 !