Reconstruction and deepening projects at Maydon Wharf



João Martins, head of engineering, and Ernst Weber, senior project manager, sheet piling, ArcelorMittal, Esch-sur-Alzette, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg


The Port of Durban is situated on the east coast of South Africa, in the KwaZulu- Natal Province. The port is the busiest on the African continent, and the biggest in terms of container capacity with 44 percent of South Africa’s break-bulk cargo and 61 percent of all containerised cargo flowing through it. In 2010 alone, the port handled 2.5 million TEU.

The port has 57 berths and is protected by the north and south breakwaters, which are 335 metres and 700 metres long respectively. It was developed primarily for import cargo but over the years, cargo flows have changed significantly and exports have become more important. Over 4,000 commercial vessels now call at the port each year.

The Maydon Wharf terminal

The Maydon Whar f mul t i -purpose terminal (MPT) handles a variety of containerised, break-bulk and bulk cargo, and specialises in the handling of specific commodities. The terminal also handles both import and export containers, taking it to an average of 15,000 TEU. It has an annual throughput of more than one million tonnes of break-bulk and neobulk commodities. The Maydon Wharf area consists of 15 berths and the MPT operates principally between berths eight and 13.

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has initiated an extensive upgrade of the infrastructure at the port. One of the major projects is to rebuild and deepen seven of the 15 berths in the Maydon Wharf area. The new quays will be able to accommodate larger vessels and provide suitable load-carrying capacity for the handling of cargos over the berths.

The reconstruction project

Berth 12 was the first reconstruction project to be launched. The quay wall is approximately 270 metres long, with a return wall of 33 metres along Berth 11. The new front line of the wall lies 13 metres in front of the sheet pile wall of the existing berth. The quay wall has been built with the new HZM/AZ combined wall system: over 2,800 tonnes of HZ 1180M A-24 king piles and 440 tonnes of AZ 18-700 sheet pile pairs have been used as intermediary piles. A high strength steel grade has been chosen by the design engineer in order to optimise the steel quantities needed. The combi-wall system is anchored with tie-rods to a reinforced concrete anchor wall. The new quay wall and capping beam were designed to put up a future front rail for a container gantry crane. The HZM king piles are 27.3 metres long, with a weight of 22.8 tonnes each, and were driven to depth with a free hanging vibratory hammer with variable frequency, suspended on the hydraulic crawler crane Kobelco CKE 1800, and an impact hammer.

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