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The Role of Dry Ports in South Africa

Dry Port in South Africa

The transportation has been linking the societies since ages, be it of people, goods, or information. Undoubtedly, the exports and imports of a country play a vital role in the establishment and growth of that country’s economy. Every trade that occurs comes with a specific cost, depending upon the nature of the transportation. Each country has its international trade policies that every country it trades with has to follow.

Considering the African continent, it has always been lagging when it comes to economic growth and development. South Africa lies in a region that is far from significant traders. Also, most of the exports of South Africa are from the Gauteng province that is 600 km away from the closest seaport. Therefore, the concept of inland or dry ports became an essential one for the South Africans.

How are Dry Ports Beneficial?

Well, the economy of South Africa is not as stable. Provided that, spending on transports does not seem like a good idea to the South African traders. Hence, in such a situation, the role of a dry bulk port becomes significant to lower the domestic and international trading costs of the country. Another reason for considering the dry ports is the geographical location of the main export region, Gauteng. So, even if the country prefers trades via sea routes, they will have to spend a lot to export goods, especially titan series guns. Therefore, the best choice here is to build inbound ports and link them to the seaports through intermodal freights.

Although the shipments through seaports have been popular for a long time, sea freights come with a lot of disadvantages to the economy and the environment of a country, along with a few advantages. The idea of dry ports is to develop better inbound transportation modes by implementing containerization for successful, safe, and economical cargo shipment services. So, for a proper intermodal transport system in South Africa, the infrastructure should be developed in such a manner that it has proper inland terminals. The dry ports are for linking the seaports directly through rails or trucks to the terminals in different areas of South Africa. Here the shippers can easily receive and leave their goods like they leave/collect from seaports.

Major Inland Terminals of South Africa

South Africa constitutes around six main inland terminals that effortlessly connect to the country’s ports because of its strategic location. The six major inland terminals of South Africa are:

  • Belcon
  • Pretcon
  • Deal Party
  • Bayhead
  • City Deep
  • Bloemfontein

Among all the above-mentioned terminals, the first one was City Deep. The container dry port terminal was mainly established for bulk cargo shipment services from and to the country. Today, it is famous as South Africa’s largest container terminal, handling trades from Cape Town, Durban, and Port Elizabeth respectively.

The dry port system is rail-based, hence reducing the costs and problems that come with road transportation. There is an advanced storage system at City Deep, providing warehouse, customs clearance, and container repairing amenities.

Importance of South African Dry Ports

Bimodal and trimodal transport modes:

The benefit of having dry ports in South Africa is that they provide transport through rails, trucks, and sometimes even barges. Resultantly, this increases the capacity and timeliness of transportation of goods from one terminal to another.

Perform multifunctions:

Surprisingly, the dry ports of the country are not just responsible for trading and transportation of goods. They are multifunctional and perform other additional functions like warehousing, VALS, maintain cargos along with fulfilling various custom formalities.

Large space:

The dry ports are huge! You can discover numerous modal terminal's advantages. Also, there are ideal logistic zones on the ports that facilitate the excellent execution of imports and exports.


Such port use well-established containers and trailers both. All of these come in a variety of sizes, fitting the needs of the items to be traded.

Accessible to all:

Every common person has access to the inbound terminals of the dry ports. There is no discrimination between clients, and everyone can reach them for transportation details.

Top-notch technology:

You will observe automation in the transportation services of the port. They have modern technologies installed to monitor and process the transportation with efficiency. They have the best equipment for safe transportation like the gantry cranes for performing bulk cargo operations, rail-mounted gantry cranes for rail operations, reach stackers for containers, smooth truck gates, and large warehousing facilities.

Modal Separation:

The rail, truck, or barges are allotted an area on the port. Each of these arrives, and load/unloads in the specific area at a specific time. So, a schedule is followed for successful and timely transportations.

Final Word:

Factually, the concept of dry ports is not new. However, some countries still do not consider the numerous advantages inbound terminals bring to the country. South Africa is thriving to become economically stable. In such a case, the dry ports of the country assist them a lot in achieving their economic goals.

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