Navitrade Terminal

From Global Energy Monitor

Navitrade Terminal, also known as RBT Grindrod Terminal, is located at Richards Bay Coal Terminal in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa. There were plans to transform the terminal into a fully mechanized coal terminal to increase coal capacity from four million tonnes to twenty.

As of 2021, the terminal has a 6.1 million tonne coal capacity and does not appear to have plans to expand.


Navitrade Terminal is located at the Port of Richards Bay, north of Durban, in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa. Richards Bay is situated on a 30 square kilometre lagoon of the Mhlatuze River.

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Grindrod operates the Navitrade terminal at Richards Bay with RBT Resources (Pty) Ltd. Navitrade terminal is a separate terminal from Richards Bay Coal terminal, and has annual capacity of 4 million tonnes (mt). In 2014, Grindrod planned to increase capacity to 20mt a year.[1] The expansion could handle coal mined in Botswana.[2]

In 2016, Grindrod made a critical breakthrough for its fledgling RBT (Navitrade) coal export terminal at Richards Bay by negotiating the same railage tariffs from Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) as those paid by the much larger Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT).[3]

A four-way memorandum of agreement also led to the creation of an integrated coal export service in Richards Bay. The joint venture between the coal terminal, RBT Grindrod Terminals (RBTG), Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), and Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) would provide one point of contact for customers through TFR.

In 2017, RBT-Grindrod was reported as playing an “important support role” to the RBCT, particularly with regard to assisting junior miners in getting their product to the export market.[4]

(In May 2021, it was reported that South Africa’s national ports master plan would see the Richards Bay based Transnet National Port Terminal (TNPT) division relinquish its current coal terminal operations completely to the neighbouring RBCT.[5])

In 2021, Grindrod's website still included a reference to the proposed expansion:[6]

"In joint venture with RBT Resources the existing Grindrod Navitrade operation and adjoining RBT land will be developed into a fully mechanised coal export terminal. It will be expanded in phases from 3 million tons to 20 million tons per annum throughput capacity and will service BBBEE mining companies (including junior miners) by providing them commodity export capacity on a contracted basis. In addition to this a key component of the JV will be to develop an inland coal hub that will allow junior miners to consolidate their volume in a co-operative fashion so as to enable those with low production volumes to access export markets and exploit economies of scale as a collective. The shareholding of the JV is 50.1% RBT and 49.9% Grindrod which makes it a black controlled company."

However, its 2020 report stated that Grindrod’s initial investment in the Richards Bay terminals became operational in 2003, and the terminals currently have a 6.1 million tonnes capacity. "Diversify Richards Bay terminal away from coal" was listed as a risk mitigation measure in the company's 2020 integrated annual report.[7]

With no recent news, the proposed coal expansion appears shelved or cancelled.

Project Details

  • Operator: Grindrod, RBT Resources (Pty) Ltd.
  • Location: KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa
  • Current Coal Capacity (Million Tonnes Per Annum): 6.1
  • Additional Proposed Capacity (Million Tonnes Per Annum): 14
  • Status: Proposed expansion appears shelved or cancelled
  • Projected In Service:
  • Type: Exports
  • Coal Source:
  • Cost of expansion: US$192 million[8]
  • Financing for expansion:

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