What Are The Largest Ports In Africa?
POSTED ON BY AMIRA DAOUI
Africa has over ten ports that are responsible for the country imports and exports. The ports in African continent are not just of a touristic nature but also a field of serious business. And there is high competition between the different ports because they all want the title of the biggest port. With Africa being such an important continent, its ports tend to be significant points for transportation and connection with other countries. Importers and exporters need to be informed when it comes to the largest ports in Africa.
It is essential because if you want to trade on the African market, you need to know how to get products in and out the country. Plus, you need to make long-term business connections to lessen the obstacles related with the international trading system. And such connections are made also be getting familiar with the local ports. If you were wondering what the largest ports in Africa are, here’s everything you should know!
1. Durban, South Africa
When it comes to the busiest ports in Africa in 2017, Durban is one of them. Durban is one of the largest cargo port in Southern Africa with 59 berths without counting the maintenance ones. Besides its amazing functionalities, this port continues to expand and develop new areas. The reason for this expansion is the increased demand that Durban port has to face from year to year. This area is linked to important industrial areas which makes it perfect for exporters. This port has two major floating ducks, and one of them is controlled by the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority). The lifting capacity of this duck is 4500 tonnes while for the second one it reaches more than 8500 tonnes.
Durban is used by large ships that get to be 230,000 dwt (Deadweight tonnage), but the sizes vary every day. There are even larger ships that entered Durban port over its history. Over 800 ships use this port on a monthly basis, and this is not counting the uncommercial ones or the private ones. If you are an international trader, Durban port should be in your main focus. In some years, the tonnage handled by this port is over a quarter more than all the other ports combined. In the cargo side of the port are traded oil and petroleum imports and exports as well as other large quantities of goods.
2. Port of Richards Bay, South Africa
Port of Richards Bay is not only one of the largest ports in Africa but in the entire world. This port is the main coal export terminal internationally, and it is located fairly close to Durban, 160 km away. But Port of also has a history of over 40 years to be proud of. Initially, it was a village that got developed into an important industrial area. The port was a consequence of this development. Since the small fishing village became a growing industrial city, the port was enriched with a berth every year.
Until today, this port managed over 1.3 billion tonnes of coal and several other tonnes of different goods. Every year, in 80 tonnes get in and out the Port of which makes it an importer port for export-import business. Nowadays, technology allowed some modernizing procedures to develop the port’s berths and even add more. Port of has now a ship repairers department which makes it very useful and important. The perspective is to expand the port’s ability to manage up to 92 million tonnes. This project is being developed with a US investment of 140 million USD.
3. Kenya, Mombasa
Kenya is an important African country for of internal and international export-import business. And one of its important benefits is the Mombasa port. It is one of the largest ports in East Africa and even if it has its struggles, remains like that year after year. Mombasa is a common port for Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and also the Democratic Republic of Congo and tends to be a busy place. One of the challenges of this port is heavy traffic, and this is due to the port’s overall condition. Some investments are scheduled shortly to develop its capacity for the sake of the import-export business process.
This port imports along with exports significant amount of goods every year. There are also some local corruption issues on the Mombasa area which slows down the development process. Even so, the Mombasa port reaches a capacity of 22 million tonnes every year. It makes it one of the biggest ports in eastern Africa and a very important one as well.
The port has 21 berths as well as two bulk oil jetties and dry bulks. Mombasa is great for options such as cold storage or warehousing which is very handy for foreign traders. Around 72 percent of the transactions made in the Mombasa port is imported. And the most important country that deals with imports and export through Mombasa is Uganda. Even if the east African ports list goes on and on, this one is high in the top.
4. Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
Dar Es Salaam is a big port in Tanzania and a competitor for Mombasa port in Kenya. The competition between the two of them lasts for some years and almost became part of the African tradition. Dar Es Salaam has two ship-to-shore gantry cranes which are very efficient for large shipments. Each one of them can lift up to over 35 tonnes. Importers and exporters prefer this port due to its facilities and weight capacity. Dar Es Salaam is keeping up with Mombasa in many aspects, and it gets to be even better in others!
When it comes to import-export business regarding Tanzania, this port is a crucial factor for the international market. Since it is fairly busy but not as busy as others, it might even be a better alternative to import goods into Africa. The three water berths are set to a capacity of 200,000 TEUs yearly, but perspectives count on its development. The Tanzanian government wants not only to develop this port but also to build a new and improved one. It keeps a high competitive level between Tanzania and Kenya for the long run.
But this port is not ready to give up yet, so it remains a great trading factor on the international market. If you are just thinking to break into the African market, it might be tricky to choose between these two ports. But you can consult specialists to present you the details that make the difference between them and help you make the best choice. Geography plays an important role as well since you need to choose the port closer to your final destination!
5. Port of Beira, Mozambique
The Port of Beira is connected with the Pungue River and one of the key ports in Africa. It is also an important international connection for Zimbabwe and Zambia through roads and railways. It is also connected to Malawi through a well-known road. Since this is such an important African port, the connection railways have been rebuilt several times over the years. But Beira also has a direct connection with Europe, Asia and the Middle East through sea links. This port can handle eleven berths that are spread on a surface of almost two kilometers. And this is not counting the fishing berths that can be found in Beira port.
The cargo managed through this port varies from break-bulk, neo-bulk to liquid bulk including petroleum. The average amount of ships that call at Beira is around 208 per year and also 80 coastal vessels. The majority of the ships travel the ocean which makes this port perfect for export-import businesses. The container terminal of Beria is one of the most developed in Africa, and the entire port is being constantly improved. Beira has two 50 tonne ship-to-shore gantry cranes and a lot of fleets. The main goods imported and exported through Beira port are vegetables, fruits, and citrus.
Djibouti is the only African port linked to Ethiopia by rail, which makes it very important. This port is collaborating with almost 40 international companies, and it is one of the main import exports ports in Africa. Djibouti has a container terminal that can hold up to 350,000 TEUs per year which facilitates the activity in this port. The government promised to keep investing in this port since it is such an important part of the African economy. The container will reach a capacity of 1.5 million TEUs, and the development will continue in the next years.
But even without these improvements, Djibouti remains one of the most efficient ports for international trading business. It is a great port to consider when it comes to several types of goods, and large quantities are welcome. If you plan to use this port make sure to check the storage capacity that is available. It tends to be busy all year round, and main importers already have their shipments scheduled even months in advance.
7. Suez Canal Container Terminal, Egypt
This port is situated exactly at the entrance of Suez which makes it a great geographical asset for Egypt. It is also one of the most modern ports in Africa with a container terminal functioning since 2004. But a little over a decade was enough to place the Suez Canal on the top of the most important ports in Africa. It is one of the favorite ports for foreign exporters and international traders but also a developed touristic zone. Suez Canal reached more than one million TEU’s in less than three years since it was opened.
This port offers a capacity of 47,500 containers, including 976 allocated reefer slots which tend to be full most of the time. The local productivity of this port increased significantly in the past years which attracted international attention. In average over 1482 container moves are completed in just one day. It connects Europe, Middle East, Asia and East Africa by offering the shortest routes and most comfortable shipments.
8. Lagos, Nigeria
When it comes to West African ports list, Lagos is one of the top three that should be mentioned. Lagos is Nigeria’s main port, and it got developed into three areas: Lagos Port, Apapa Port, and Tin Can Port. All these sections are situated in the Gulf of Guinea and operated by the Nigerian Port Authority. This port is an important trading point between Nigeria and its closest countries such as Benin, Niger, and Cameroon. And it is fairly busy since Nigeria is importing a lot of goods from these countries.
Since Nigeria has over 140 million citizens, it is the most developed market on the continent which asks for a developed port. The government also got involved to the development of this port because they saw the perspective that has for the local economy. And they were right!
Lagos has an important marine transport academy, and it is a source of numerous jobs for locals. Also, it is the main and largest seaport in West Africa responsible with a significant amount of exports. Without this important port, Nigeria’s economy would have to suffer as well as its import-export businesses. This port manages goods like consumer goods, foodstuffs, motor vehicles and industrial raw materials. And even if the level of exports is changing from year to year, Lagos remains one of the most important ports on the West African ports map.
9. Walvis Bay, Namibia
This one is also a great port situated on the west side of Africa, responsible for import-export businesses with Namibia. The port has nine berths and a surface of almost 1500 meters. Walvis Bay is competing with some of the best South African ports, and some consider it to be better than most of those. While it is connected to Namibia, this port is also linked to Botswana and Gauteng province in South Africa.
With around two million tonnes of cargo yearly, this port is a preferred one by many foreign exporters as well as African importers. It is highly efficient, and the procedures are fulfilled fast for the sake of the clients. Beside its nine berths, Walvis Bay has a significant amount of fishing vessels and small craft.
For foreign exporters looking to break into the African market, this port is a friendly choice. It is easy to access and highly reliable when it comes to business terms. Each year, this port is used by around 1000 ships from all over the world. Several ship repair facilities can be accessed inside the Walvis Bay port, and they come handy for local ships as well as foreign ones. Overall, it is a perfect choice for beginner importers and exporters that want to get into international trading.
10. Saldanha Bay, South Africa
This port was made with the purpose of transporting iron in the early 1970s. The main activity met in Saldanha Bay is export business, and it is like a gate to other continents and countries. Nowadays, the port is used to import and export commodities like crude oil, steel coils, granite, and concentrates. Yearly, this port manages around 28.4 million tonnes of iron, 6.1 million tonnes of crude oil, and a further 2.2 million tonnes of general cargo. The iron ore remains the main good transported through this port for decades even if the quantity is constantly changing.
Since this is one of the most efficient African ports, authorities decided to start investing in it. Also, several foreign investors decided to add to the port’s modernization process. The goal is to make Saldanha Bay one of the top South African ports for both imports and exports. Storage areas are being built every year to accommodate the needs of the locals and foreign exporters.
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The WaystoCap specialists will not only guide you through the paperwork and certificated that you need but also through the shipping process. And sometimes, shipping the goods can be the tricky part especially if you don’t know which port to use for your transportation. WaystoCap gives you valuable information and even helps you find the contacts needed for such a process.
You will find the best shipping method for your needs as a foreign exporter and the best port to access. Not to mention that you can add insurance to your products to be covered for those unfortunate accidents that can happen! WaystoCap introduces you to the most important ports in Africa and the procedures that you need to follow to access them. It can easily save exporters a lot of time and wasted finances!