ROUTINE maintenance dredging at both the Coega and Port Elizabeth harbours is under way as part of Transnet's annual strategy to ensure depth and safety are maintained.
The dredging programme, which started last month, will run until November and see two dredging boats remove silt build-up from the harbour floors.
Only two container berths at Coega were identified to be dredged, one of which has already been done. The other is expected to be completed by the end of the month.
The depth of the container terminals at the port is 16m and the entrance channel 18m.
The Port Elizabeth harbour had 11 berths dredged last month, with the dredger due to return next month to continue with routine dredging in the harbour channel entrance.
The Port of Port Elizabeth terminals have a depth of 12.2m with the entrance channel depth of 14.5m.
Coega harbour master Captain Thulani Dubeko said this was part of the annual maintenance dredging plan. "Routine sonar tests were conducted in July and it was decided some of the silt had to be dredged.
"It is such a small amount it does not affect operations. However we feel it must be done now to avoid a build-up," he said.
"The exercise does not affect shipping movement or traffic at all which is why the berths are done separately and not simultaneously."
Port of Port Elizabeth harbour master Captain Brynn Adamson said dredging of the harbour was routine and occurred annually to ensure depths were maintained.