Chemical Manufacturers and Distributors
The producers of chemicals in KwaZulu-Natal cover a wide
range of companies from large production
complexes belonging to international conglomerates, down
to small manufacturers with niche markets in preparations
for household, domestic and industrial uses.
There is also a significant petrochemical industry in the
Durban area, which is described separately in another
section of this database.
Chemicals for the food and paint industries include
malic acid, phthalate and malic anhydride, and are produced
in the Southern Industrial Area of Durban. Of the 220
tons that are produced per month, 180 tons are distributed
by road tankers and flatdeck combinations all
over South Africa, the balance of 60 tons being exported
through the port of Durban.
All inputs to the process, gases, oils, lime and
orthoxylene is received by road.
Alcohols are produced as a by-product of the sugar
industry. The transport of molasses from sugar mills up and
down the KZN coast and Midlands is about 90% by road with
small quantities still being railed from the Amatikulu and
The industry also includes numbers of specialist marketing
and distribution companies handling specific chemicals
such as herbicides, fungicides, detergents, organic and
Large quantities of chemical products are imported and
exported, e.g., 650,000 tons of sulphur and 60,000 tons
of ammonia through Richards Bay, and 814,508 tons of
unspecified chemicals through the port of Durban, in 2006.
The ports of Durban and Richards Bay have large storage
tank farms for handling quantities of imported ammonia,
butadiene, solvents and olefins, petrochemicals and fuels
as well as exports of alcohols from the local sugar
industry (50,000 tons).
The import and storage of organic products such as animal
and vegetable oils (865,157 tons per annum through Durban)
is described elsewhere under various sections of this
Major export chemicals are phosphoric acid (1.2 million
tons per annum) through the port of Richards Bay, mainly to
Transport of Chemicals
The estimated total usage of rail transport by the KZN
chemicals industry is about 200,000 tons per annum of
various products. This includes the volumes sent inland to
Gauteng, the movement of chemicals between Richards Bay
and Durban, and the tonnage of export chemicals from the
The volumes on road are estimated to be about 1.0 million
tons, which amounts to about 30,000 loads per annum.