Richards Bay Harbour

Port Overview

LOCATION Latitude 28˚ 48’S, Longitude 32˚ 02’E

The Port of Richards Bay is located approximately 160 km North-East of Durban and 465 km South of Maputo on the eastern seaboard of South Africa.

The Port is one of South Africa’s eight operational commercial ports under the auspices of the Authority with great potential to play a key role in the shaping of South Africa’s future growth and prosperity. Established only in 1976 primarily for the export of 26 million tonnes of coal over the first ten years, the Port is one of the newest ports within the Authority’s stable. However, it has become of age within a relatively short period; with the establishment of one new berth every second year on average.

The combination of specialized cargo handling facilities, fast vessel turnaround, deep water infrastructure, excellent rail links to the hinterland and the large greenfield development potential, has made the Port one world’s leading bulk ports, handling in excess of 80 million tonnes annually, representing approximately 60% of South Africa’s seaborne cargo.
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Port Information & Services

The Port Control is manned 24 hours a day. Channel 16 VHF is the calling frequency, with messages being passed on VHF Channel 12. Vessels should radio Port Control prior to the arrival, advising ETA. When vessels enter the VTS zone (the initial arrival point – 15 miles) they must advise Port Control of their draft free-board and any other VTS information requested.
Richards Bay Airport is independently managed and not part of the network of larger airports operated by the parastatal Airports Company South Africa – Return flights to Johannesburg - OR Tambo International Airport.
The outer anchorage is 3-6 miles south-east of the south breakwater. Caution should be exercised during strong SW and NE winds as vessels have lost their anchors in the past.

Note: Anchorage immediately to the north of the Port entrance channel is a prohibited area due to the location of an offshore pipeline (SA Notices to Mariners 44/83). When determining outer anchorage position, vessels are required not to anchor within prohibited areas as listed in the local chart..
Via VTS lanes.

Vessels should be sufficiently ballasted to navigate safely within the Port. For vessels up to 250 m in length: Fwd draft: 2% in length overall / Aft draft: 3% in length overall. For vessels in excess of 250 m in length: Fwd draft: 2½% in length overall / Aft draft: 3½% in length overall.
All major South African and international banks are represented in Cape Town.
There are 23 berths ranging up to 350m length. See Berth details.
Bunkering points are available at Berths 209, 301 and 302. The maximum vessel size permitted alongside Berth 209 is 225m LOA, 12,5m draft or not more than 67 000 dwt. Bunkers can also be provided by bunker barge, “Smit Bongani” operated by Smit Amandla marine (Pty) Ltd at the Port.
The Port hosts six cargo-handling terminals equipped to ensure that our clients can compete in the global area.
All leading maritime nations are represented.
There are no dedicated areas within the Port for cruise liners. Liners are berthed at suitable berths, depending on space availability and vessel size, or berthed at the Small Craft Port.
The Port entrance channel has a width of 300m, extending seawards 400m beyond the breakwater to a depth of 22m.

Contact Port Control on Channel 12 & 16 or Tel.: +27 35 905 3444/3401 Contact Port Fire Emergency Tel.: +27 83 708 0830
Available at all berths upon request.
Arrangements for the handling of hazardous cargo must be made through the Port Master. Vessels carrying explosives or dangerous goods are restricted to arrival and movement within the port during daylight hours. (Refer to the Port Rules for SA Ports and the Harbour Master’s Written Instructions).

The Port of Richards Bays Authority’s administrative office hours: 08:00 – 16:00 (Monday to Friday – not public holidays). The Port Authority’s Marine Services hours: 24-hour service, 7 days a week, except Christmas day. Terminals: 24-hours, 7 days a week. (Notes: Closures over public holidays vary per terminal).
Weather bulletins and reports available from South African Weather Service, East Coast Radio or Port Control. Coastal weather bulletins via Navtex at 12:20 and 16:20 hours.
There is no dedicated cruise liner terminal. Facilities for cruise liners are provided at various berths, depending on availability at the Small Craft Port and the size of the liner.
Boarding points are determined by the Marine Pilot within an area designated for pilot boarding as per local navigation chart. All vessels with a freeboard in excess of nine metres, must have an accommodation ladder rigged in conjunction with the pilot ladder. The lower ledge of the accommodation ladder must not be more than nine metres above sea level (as per IMO Resolution A.889(21)).

Pilotage is compulsory. Marine Pilots are transferred to and from vessels by helicopter. A pilot boat is on standby should the helicopter not be available. The latest International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) Guide to helicopter/operations should be consulted and fully adhered to. General communication with the helicopter is on VHF Channel 14.
Six mile limit south-east of South Breakwater.
The calling frequency is VHF Channel 12. VHF Channel 16 is monitored for emergency purposes.
Leading South African and world ship’s agents are represented at Richards Bay.

No dedicated ship repair berth facility. A Repair Berth is located at the Small Craft Port (See Berth details).
Richards Bay stevedoring companies offer a number of various services.
The Port has a comprehensive range of covered and open storage facilities.
The tide fall at Richards Bay is 2.47m. (Refer to SA Navy Tide Tables).

The Port of Richards Bay’s main hinterland comprises the northern KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Mpumalanga regions. The Port has 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 Port is 1.025g/cm³.
Richards Bay is characterized by a subtropical climate with warm wet summers and mild moist to dry winters, which are frost-free. The town has an average annual rainfall of 1228 millimeters (48.3 in). The average annual temperature is 21.5°C (71°F), with daytime maxima peaking from January to March at 29°C (84°F), and the minimum is 21°C (70°F), dropping to daytime highs from June to August of 23°C (73°F) and a minimum of 12°C (53°F). Sunrise is at 04h45 and sunset at 19h00 in summer. In winter sunrise is at 06h20 and sunset at 17h00. Richards Bay is a popular kite surfing destination thanks to consistent winds blowing from the North East.

The Richards Bay area is generally very flat and is situated on a coastal plain. The terrain rises slightly towards the west. The suburbs are all no more than a few metres (Reneging around 140m) (feet 459.3ft) above sea level. The area is abundant in coastal dune forest, most notably along the coastal dune belt and in the suburb of Meerensee

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 035 905 3444
Harbour Master  035 905 3984
Port Engineer 035 905 3985
Port Manager 035 905 3203
Marketing 035 905 3907
Flying Squad 10111
Port Emergency Fire Team 083 708 0830
Fire 035 797 3911
Sea Rescue 082 990 5949
Police 035 901 2475
SAP Water Wing 035 788 9800