Durban Container Terminal development still on
Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) says that the plan to lengthen and deepen Durban harbour is still on, despite media reports that it has come under fire from environmental organisations.
Transnet told GreenPort that the EIA approval it sought for the deepening, lengthening and widening of berths 203 to 205 has not been rejected by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).
A spokesperson said to GP: “Rather, the DEA has asked for further additional and supporting information from the specialists so that it can take a decision.”
A letter from the DEA states the following: “You (sic TNPA) are required to amend the EIA report to include all of the above and make the amended EIA report available to all registered interested and affected parts for a 30 day commenting period. Thereafter, the amended EIA report with comments received and responses thereto must be submitted to this Directorate (sic DEA).”
The operator said this is currently being undertaken and the EIA document with the additional information will be submitted for public review and comment towards the end of January 2014 for a period of 30 days. Thereafter, it will be resubmitted to the DEA for approval.
Transnet said work will only commence work on the berth deepening project once it has all the required approvals.
The development needs to be completed because vessel sizes have increased considerably, the berths cannot safely accommodate the new generation of fully laden container vessels. At present, the vessels employ a strategy of entering and exiting the port partly laden and at high tide – a process which Transnet says is unsafe.
But environmental groups, such as Coastwatch, have raised concerns that the plan to dredge part of a sandbank near the quay will destroy an area called Little Lagoon which is vitally important for the bay to remain an estuary and fish nursery.
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