Durban’s harbour widening and deepening project, completed in March 2010, saw the channel depth increased from 12.8 metres to a variance of 16 m in the basin and to 19 m in the outer channel. The width was increased from 125 m to an average of 225 m. The ‘MSC Chicago’ is 337 m long with a beam of 46 m and draught of 13.1m.
Transnet National Ports Authority Chief Executive Tau Morwe said the vessel’s maiden voyage to the Durban Container Terminal proved the capacity of South African ports to cater for ships of this magnitude.
“It is a sign of confidence that major shipping lines like Mediterranean Shipping Company see fit to introduce these ships to South African ports. Durban in particular can strive to retain its position as one of the leading ports in Africa by meeting the growing need to accommodate vessels of this size. What we now need to do is deepening the berths so that vessels like this can come in fully laden,” he said.