Cape Town - Durban is the most expensive among 12 international ports researched by the Ports Regulator to compare costs and performance measures.
The study was made at a time when the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) was applying for an 11.91% tariff increase for the 2011/12 financial year.
Total marine and infrastructure costs for an average container vessel to visit the Durban port once a month amount to $182 151.30, compared with an average of $86 251.58 at the other 11 ports.
After Durban, the second and third most expensive ports are in America – Long Beach in California charging $175 230.48 and Los Angeles charging $164 431.77.
The cheapest two ports are Kaohsiung in Taiwan, with a total fee of $18 609.65 per tanker per visit, and Antwerp with $25 605.46.
If cargo tariffs are excluded, Rotterdam is the most expensive port, costing $40 176.97, followed by Durban with $27 933.50.
For a coal freighter transporting 145 000 tons of coal, the study indicates that Richards Bay is the third most expensive of 11 coal ports, with total marine and infrastructure costs of $162 274 per visit to port.
The average cost among the 11 ports is $110 605, and the two most expensive coal ports after Richards Bay are Hedland in Australia and New York in America.
Highest cost, lowest productivity
Although Durban has the highest port costs, its productivity is, according to 2008 figures, 23 container shifts per hour – the lowest among six ports whose container-crane productivity was compared.
In contrast, in 2008 Antwerp in Belgium achieved 94 container shifts an hour, although its cost per container vessel was $25 605.
According to Transnet productivity has since improved. Acting chief executive Chris Wells last week told parliament that the Pier 1 container wharf in Durban is currently managing 30 container shifts per hour, compared with 21 a year ago.
Container shifts at Cape Town and Ngqura are between 25 and 26 an hour.
The research is available for public comment on the Ports Regulator’s website.
According to its application to the regulator, TNPA hopes to earn R7.641bn from tariffs in the coming financial year. This includes a capital return of R2.768bn, depreciation costs of R937m, operating expenses of R2.859bn and a tax expense of R1.077bn.
Public hearings on the tariff application will be held from October 30 to November 4 in Mossel Bay, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Sandton, and other venues.
For business news in Afrikaans, go to Sake24.com.