Africa: Continent’s Biggest Port to be Partially Privatised

Harare — In a first for South Africa’s national ports business, the largest harbour in Africa, Port of Durban, will be operated and controlled in part by International Container Terminal Services Inc. of the Philippines.

“Private sector participation in Pier 2 is a key catalyst for repositioning the Port of Durban as a container hub port. We are delighted to have a global player of ICTSI’s standing on board to drive this process,” said Transnet Group CE Portia Derby.

Durban Harbour, the largest and busiest shipping terminal in sub-Saharan Africa, handling up to 31.4 million tons of cargo each year, was 364th out of 370 in a 2021 World Bank evaluation of container port performance, while two other Transnet ports were in the bottom 10.

According to the firm, Transnet will have a 50% plus one share ownership in a new company that will administer the port for 25 years and work to increase its yearly capacity.

“A new company will be formed to manage the operations at DCT Pier 2, in which Transnet will have majority ownership of 50% plus one share. The term of the transaction is 25 years, with an option to extend to a maximum of 30 years in the event that berth deepening of the North Quay at Pier 2 is delayed,” Transnet said in a statement.

According to Transnet, there were six bids for the contract, including ICTSI, which runs terminals on six different continents. It was unclear if ICTSI would pay for its stake or if it would be required to pay for the expansion.

“A total of 18 responses were received to Transnet’s initial call for request for interest in August 2021, nine of them from global terminal operators. Following this, a total of 10 bids were shortlisted in response to a request for qualifications. Of the shortlisted respondents, six bidders submitted proposals,” Transnet said.

With its headquarters in Manila, the Philippines, and a publicly-listed corporation that is traded on the Philippine Stock Exchange and the Over-the-Counter Markets Group in the United States, CTSI is a prominent independent global developer and operator of origin and destination container terminals.

The company operates 34 terminal operations in 20 countries across six continents, including four in Africa.

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