Designed to accommodate the Ports development needs for the next 60-100 years this R1.8bn project took almost three years to complete such was the complexity and scale of work required to upgrade the existing 100-year old facility.

The project, commissioned by Transnet, widened the entrance from 120 m to 220 m and also deepened it from 12.8 m to 19 m at its deepest point. 
This allows 9 000-TEU container vessels (19 containers wide) to now safely navigate the entrance whereas previously the largest vessels that could be accommodated in Africa’s busiest Port were limited to 4 000 TEUs (just 12 containers wide).

The design criteria required dredging eight-million cubic metres of sand to widen and deepen the entrance and reinforcing the age-old existing structures. A new north pier (images below) was constructed by recycling the material from the old pier and the existing south pier breakwater was reinforced and built up by almost 2m in height. The existing old services tunnel that runs below the harbour entrance was also removed in lieu of a new 4.4m tunnel that was built in its place.

…and all this whilst still allowing ‘business-as-usual’ into the busy port!

It’s certainly been one of the most exciting projects I have ever explored and photographed. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the nature of the project, all the challenges involved, and it was also a REAL treat to be allowed access to a usually-inaccessible location and to photograph where photography is usually prohibited – the brief was to capture a collection of high-contrast black-and-white fine art prints as some boardroom artwork.

 The project was a joint venture between Belgian company Dredging International and South African construction company Group Five. Project Management services were provided by GOBA and Prestedge Retief Dresner Wijnberg were the design consultants.

My thanks to all involved for inviting me to capture some images of this very special project.