Cape Town Harbour

Port Overview

LOCATION Latitude 33˚ 54’S, Longitude 18˚ 26’E

The Port of Cape Town lies in the shadow of Table Mountain, approximately 120 nautical miles north west of Cape Agulhas – strategically positioned almost at the southern tip of the African continent. The port serves cargoes moving between Europe and the western hemisphere and the Middle East and Australia, especially containers.

Over the centuries Cape Town has evolved from a staging post on a major east-west trade route into a modern, full service general cargo port renowned for deciduous fruit and fish exports.
More Information

Port Information & Services

To VTS/Port Control, 72 hours prior to arrival at the Fairway Buoy.
Cape Town International Airport is served by major world airlines with scheduled flights to all parts of the globe, either direct or via Johannesburg.
To the north of the pilot boarding point (the Fairway Buoy), with a depth of 20-25m. During winter months (April to September) north and northwest winds are frequent. Vessels should be prepared to proceed to sea at short notice at the approach of bad weather.
Via VTS lanes.

Vessels should be sufficiently ballasted to navigate safely within the harbour.
All major South African and international banks are represented in Cape Town.
There are 34 berths ranging up to 318.5m length. See page 54 for details.
There are bunkering points at some berths, supplying fuel oil, gas oil and blended fuels. Bunkers are also supplied by barge. Diesel oil is not available. Bunkers are supplied by Joint Bunkering Services, a joint venture between BP South Africa, Caltex Oil, Shell SA and Engen Petroleum, allowing customers to choose their supplier while gaining the benefit of economies through the shared distribution system.

The port deploys a wide range of modern, standard and specialised equipment as appropriate to terminal operations.
All leading maritime nations are represented.
There are no dedicated areas within the Port for cruise liners. They are berthed at E and J berths in the Duncan Dock or at the Eastern mole area depending on space availability and vessel size.
The depth at the entrance channel is 15.9m, with 15.4m at the entrance to Duncan Dock and 14m at the entrance to Ben Schoeman Dock. The depth in Duncan Dock varied between 9.9m near the repair quay to 12.4m at the tanker basin. Ben Schoeman Dock varies from 9m to 15.5m depth.

Contact Port Control on Channel 14 & 16 or Tel.: +27 21-449-2805.
Cape Town is the major base for the fishing industry of the region with sophisticated facilities for processing catches and the maintenance of the international fleets.
Available at all berths on request.
Arrangements for the handling of hazardous cargo must be made through the Harbour Master. Vessels carrying explosives or dangerous goods are restricted to arrival and movement within the port during daylight hours.

The Port of Cape Town is open 24 hours, 365 days of the year. Working hours at individual terminals and facilities are:
Agri & Ro-Ro Terminal
24 hours (not Christmas Day, New Year’s Day) General Cargo Mon to Fri: 24 hours (not Christmas Day, New Year’s Day) Sat: 07:00 – 15:00, 18:00 – 22:0 on request Sun: 08:00 – 16:00, 18:00 – 22:00 on request Public holidays: 08:00 – 16:00 Container Terminal 362 days (not Christmas Day, New years Day or May 1) Port office hours 08:00 – 16:00, Monday to Friday (not public holidays) Tankers If carrying hazardous cargoes, berthing and unberthing only during daylight hours.
Weather bulletins and reports available from Cape Town Radio/ZSC. Coastal weather bulletins via Navtex at 12:20 and 16:20 hours.
Facilities for cruise ships are provided at No 2 jetty in the Victoria Basin or at E-Berth in the Duncan Dock.

For all vessels requesting pilotage services, one hour of advance notice is required to VTS/Port Control on channel 14. Pilot ladders must comply with SOLAS regulations.
Off the Fairway buoy
Westwards by straight line between Green Point and Robben Island lighthouses, northwards by straight line from Robben Island, eastwards to the eastern shore of Table Bay, southwards along the high water mark to include the foreshore to the castle – and back to the Green Point Lighthouse.
The calling frequency for VTS/Port Control Cape Town (call sign ZSC) is VHF Channel 14. Cape Town Radio also uses HF channels: 421, 821, 1221 and 1621 and monitors Morse code transmissions on 500 kHz, R/T on channel 2182 and digital selective calling channels on: 4207.5, 6312.0, 8414.5, 12577.0 and 16804.5 kHz. Distress and safety traffic is conducted on 4125, 6215, 8291, 12290 and 16420 kHz.

Leading South African and world ship’s agents are represented at Cape Town
There are two dry docks; a repair quay and ship lift facilities.
Cape Town stevedoring companies offer services including cargo stowage, lashing and securing, cargo breakout, stowage planning, and operation of ship’s equipment, hatch and tank cleaning. Duncan Dock Cold Storage Stevedoring Services offer clients a one-stop service.
The Port of Cape Town has a comprehensive range of covered and open storage facilities.

The tide fall at Cape Town is 1.2m.
The Port of Cape Town has direct access to the South Africa trunk road network as well as excellent rail infrastructure connecting with all South Africa’s major cities as well as to countries further north.
Seawater density in the harbour is 1.025g/cm³.
The Cape Town region enjoys a Mediterranean climate, but also subject to the special factors of its southern latitude. During the winter months (April to September) north and northwest winds backing to the southwest are frequent. Westerly gales can cause heavy range action at berths; in the summer (October to March) the prevailing wind is from the southeast popularly known as the Cape Doctor, which can reach gale force at times.

USEFUL CONTACT NUMBERS (when telephoning from outside South Africa, replace the ‘0’ in the national area code with +27)  
Port Control 021 449 2805
Harbour Master 021 449 5762
Port Engineer 021 449 6173
Port Manager 021 449 2612
Agri Ro-Ro 021 449 2405
Container Manager 021 449 4251
Container Terminal (24 hours) 021 449 3391
Marketing 021 449 2142
Flying Squad 10111
Fire 021 461 4141  
Sea Rescue 021 449 3500
Police 021 419 0260

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