Richards Bay Coal Terminal

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Richards Bay Coal Terminal
SAR Class 35-200 35-204.JPG
The railyard at Richards Bay, 14 August 2007
Country South Africa
Location Richards Bay
Coordinates 28°49′05″S 32°03′07″E / 28.818°S 32.052°E / -28.818; 32.052Coordinates: 28°49′05″S 32°03′07″E / 28.818°S 32.052°E / -28.818; 32.052
Type of harbor Coal terminal
Land area 260 hectares (640 acres)
Available berths 5
Annual cargo tonnage 91 million annually
Richards Bay Coal Terminal is located in South Africa
Richards Bay Coal Terminal
Location of the coal terminal

The Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT), which is located in the Richards Bay harbour on the Indian Ocean coast of South Africa, is the largest coal export facility in Africa.[a]


Positioned at one of the world’s deep sea ports, RBCT is able to handle large ships and subsequent large volumes. As such, it has gained a reputation for operating efficiently and reliably. The 260 hectare site currently boasts a quay 1,6 kilometres long with five berths and four ship loaders. Currently, the terminal has a storage capacity of 6.7 million tons of coal and is serviced by six stacker reclaimers, two stackers and a reclaimer.


In September 2006, RBCT set a new world record by loading and exporting 409,809 tons of coal in a 24-hour period at an annualised rate of 149.17 million tons per annum (Mt/a). Potential throughput is to reach 91 million tons a year by the first half of 2009.[1]

In 2007 annual throughput was 66.12 million tons[vague], despite a capacity of 76 million tons. It was largely due to rail deliveries failing to reach expectations.[2]

Expansion plans[edit]

RBCT commenced its Phase V expansion project in September 2006, which will see total handling capacity being increased to 91 Mt/a in 2009. The expansion will also see the terminal's shareholders increase as export capacity is made available to emerging black coal miners in South Africa, thus creating a new generation of coal exporters who will make use of the facility.

In January 2012, the Swazilink rail project was announced, which would remove general freight traffic from the Richards Bay line and allow more coal trains to Richards Bay Coal Terminal.[3]



  1. ^ The Chinese port of Qinhuangdao maintains the largest coal exporting terminal in the world, at 209 Million tons compared to Richards Bay with 91 Million tons.[4]