KwaZulu-Natal Freight Databank

This Data Bank provides one with information about authorities within the province, industries, air freight, ports, cross border, rail and roads sectors in the KZN. The statistics will provide you with detailed information about the movements of freight in the province.  (Last Updated : 2013)

Roads Overview



The total length of roads in KwaZulu-Natal is 25,600 km. This includes 1,147 km of the road network in the eThekwini Metro area and 1,138 km of national routes. 6,656 km are surfaced and 18,943 km are gravel.

The main national routes are the N3 (Durban to Gauteng), N2 South (Durban to Kokstad) and the N2 North (Durban to Pongola). The N3 to Gauteng is the busiest road freight corridor in South Africa, carrying a volume of over 1.5 million vehicles per year on the Durban to Pietermaritzburg section. The authorities charged with the maintenance of provincial roads face the continual challenge of maintaining the condition of roads with limited funds, in spite of increasing usage.

The combined effect of national policies of deregulation of road transport, commercialisation of rail, increased legal axle-mass loads and gross combination mass of heavy vehicles has resulted in a continual shift of cargo from rail to road transport. This results in an increase in road damage, accidents, congestion and gas emissions.

The situation is aggravated by endemic overloading of heavy vehicles which, though better controlled in KZN than the rest of the country, has negative consequences for the life of the roads in the province.

The cumulative effects of increasing road usage and accumulated deficits in the funding of road maintenance are felt by all road users in terms of increased vehicle operating costs. The deteriorating condition of roads in KwaZulu-Natal is a cause for grave concern as it contributes to rising costs, inflation and increasing accident rates. It is noteworthy that the Department has in recent years, placed considerable emphasis on the development of roads in remote rural areas and is in the process of upgrading several major provincial roads such as the P700 route to Ulundi and the P496 John Ross Highway from Empangeni to Richards Bay .

It will in the near future be critically necessary to reassess the provision of road infrastructure between the N3 corridor and the Port of Durban as increasing congestion and delays are having a negative impact on the efficiency of the logistics system surrounding the port.


Road Infrastructure

The Department continually monitors the condition of roads throughout the province for the purpose of planning, maintenance and reconstruction. In 2006, approximately 60 % of the paved road network was measured by "road roughness testing", dynamic cone penetration (DCP) and evaluation of skid resistance.

The Departmental technical centre also conducted research with a view to locating mapping and evaluating material sources for road building in the province. A number of material sources have been tested for suitability.

The Department continues to use the bridge management software programme developed by the CSIR to manage 1,610 bridges and 2,008 culverts in the province. In 2006 a visual inspection of 323 bridges and 267 culverts was conducted.

The department uses the Road Management System (RMS) to provide a scientific basis for evaluating the condition of paved and unpaved road networks. Pavement Management Systems (PMS) and Gravel Road Management Systems (GRMS) are also used.