South Sudan is a land locked country. Juba Port forms part of a series of fresh water ports that runs the length of the country from Juba in the South to Renk on the border with Sudan along the River Nile. There are many offshoots of the main river i.e. Bentiu, however these are usually only seasonally accessible and only by much smaller boats (20-60 mt). The Sobat River from Ethiopia is also only seasonally accessible for a few months of the year and recent insecurity has reduced the potential opportunities of using this riverway further west than Nasser. Historically, port operators ran operations up to the port of Kosti in Sudan, however conflict and border closures has made this very difficult in recent times. The river network is a crucial alternative in the economical (compared to air) transport of large quantities of cargo into unity and Upper Nile states.
All port infrastructures are extremely basic. The loading/offloading is completed using porters and in the rainy season trucks can have difficulty accessing the port areas due to mud buildup.
Port Location and Contacts
Province or District
Central Equatoria State, Juba County
Town or City (Closest location) with Distance (km)
Port's Complete Name
Managing Company or Port Authority (If more than one operator, break down by area of operation)
Ministry of Roads and TransportDirector General for River Transport: Mr. Abdu Siley, +211 126 823 434
Management Contact Person
Port Manager: Mr. Zubeir Taban, +211 (0) 956194600Deputy Port Manager: Mr. Emmanuel Eli, +211 (0) 954006175
Closest Airport and Frequent Airlines to / from International Destinations
Airport Name: Juba International Airport (JIA)
Airlines: Kenya Airways, Fly Dubai, Ethiopian Airlines, Egypt Air, Rwanda Air, Fly 540
Various commercial companies are active in the port, from suppliers of heavy handling equipment such as cranes and smaller powerboat operators, to large river barge companies. Three well established barge-operating companies are present at the port. The companies Keer Marine Co, Nile Barges for River Transport Co, and MINCO Ltd. are the largest operators with access to large and diversified fleets which includes general, flat-top and fuel barges able to transport general bulk and neo-bulk cargo, as well as bulk and drummed fuel.
Due to the current border closures these operators are not able to operate into Sudan and some reported that they also don’t have a fully realised fleet capacity. Handling equipment such as heavy-lift cranes and forklifts can be acquired either through barge operators or through a number of commercial companies in the market. These companies, however, don’t necessarily have a permanent presence at the port.
For information on South Sudan Juba Port contact details, please see the following link:
4.4 South Sudan Ports & Waterways Companies Contact List
Juba port is the main river port in South Sudan. Other main ports in the country are located in the towns of Bor, Mangalla, Shambe, Adok, Malakal, Melut and Renk. Barges are not confined to docking at these locations and will travel to where they are needed and where it is safest to dock. General cargo barges docking in Juba can contain anything from food and household goods, to building supplies, heavy engineering machinery, vehicles and fuel. Passenger barges carry IDPs from conflict areas in the north of the country also terminate at Juba making the port an important transit area for IDPs.
Port operations in general are constrained by inadequate infrastructure, cargo-handling equipment and management. Powerful local labour union still controls all labour at the port and determines the loading and unloading charges. The local porters union also has access to a number of motorboats that can be hired directly from the owner/operators. The union has organized these owner/operator boats into a loose corporation and even though it is encouraged that prospective clients acquire their services through the union, the boats can be hired through direct negotiation with the owner.
The access corridor downstream of the port is said to be narrow and rocky which allows for barge entry or exit but not both simultaneously, the rocky bottom also makes docking procedures risky, especially when the river level is low. No permanent mooring fixtures are available and barges are moored to mango trees growing on the riverbank. Damage to these trees results in a fine, paid either to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, or to the local community who owns the tree. The riverbank is receding and erosion is an issue. Unloading/loading is mostly done manually or in the case of containers and heavy loads, a crane from one of the local commercial operators is hired in. Barges are normally positioned, as close to flat ground on the riverbank for loading/offloading and using a crane to load/remove containers and heavy loads requires skill.
It is difficult to estimate the annual cargo tonnages at Juba and other ports, as consistent and reliable information is not readily available. Prior to resumption of conflict, the Juba port authority does require barge operators to notify the port authority of incoming and outgoing vessels including a basic description of cargo; however the recording system is rudimentary and not comprehensive. More accurate information can be obtained from barge operators but most are reluctant to share such information. Due to conflict, clearance required from authorities for any humanitarian barge traffic moving on the river.
Due to low water between Juba and Bor ports which can ground the barges, Bor is favored as a loading destination. This is also supported by a relatively good all weather road from Juba to Bor.
Yes / No
From <month> to <month>
|Yes||May to October|
Major Import Campaigns
Low water levels in some part during the dry season
|Yes||January to May|
Estimated 58 barge movements throughout the year. This number includes barge movements for 2 of the main barge operators throughout the year. Barge movements of two operators for the month of January 2013. (Keer Marine: 6 barges, NRTC: 8 barges)Average turnaround period 8-24 weeks since border closures
Container Traffic (TEUs)
Difficult to estimate.
Handling charges for river transport can cost up to US$ 30-35/mt. These charges are subject to location and determined by the porters union. Discharge rates are determined through direct negotiations with barge operators or the porter union and are based on the type of cargo that needs to be handled.
Type of Berth
Maximum Draft (m)
No permanent mooring fixtures are available and barges are moored to mango trees growing on the riverbank or the single concrete jetty. Barges are normally moored as close to flat ground on the riverbank for loading/offloading.
Imports - Bagged Cargo
Exports - Bagged Cargo
Imports and Exports - RoRo
Is the port equipment managed by the government or privately? Privately
Juba port has no permanent cargo handling equipment. The port has one concrete jetty and gantry crane however the crane is frequently broken-down. Porters who physically load and offload cargo from boats and barges do the majority of cargo handling. For heavy and containerized cargo, equipment such as cranes can be hired in from private companies and owners for a fee.
Use of the port gantry crane can be negotiated from the port authority directly.
Total Quantity and Capacity Available
Comments on Current Condition and Actual Usage
1 (2.5 mt)
Crane is frequently inoperable. Privately operated cranes need to be hired in for container loads.
Mobile cranes are privately owned.
RoRo Tugmaster (w/ Trailer)
Grain Elevator w/ Bagging Machines
Forklifts are privately owned and need to be hired in.
No permanent container facilities are present. Containers are loaded and offloaded directly to and from waiting trucks utilizing locally hired commercial cranes. Rates vary little between operators and one container counts as one lift. Charged at US$ 150 per lift, an average mobilisation fee of US$ 250 is also applicable. Depending on the amount of work a daily rate of up to US$ 1,500 can be negotiated.
The storage of containers is the responsibility of the owner, unless otherwise agreed with the barge operators.
Container Facilities Available
Container Freight Station (CFS)
|No such capacity||No such capacity|
Refrigerated Container Stations
|No such capacity||No such capacity|
Other Capacity Details
Daily Take Off Capacity (Containers per day)
Number of Reefer Stations (connection points)
Emergency Take-off Capacity (Give an indication)
|No such capacity|
Off take capacity of gang shift (in Containers per shift)
Juba port is mainly concerned with the domestic movement of cargo and since the recent border closures, no customs facilities are available on site. Where applicable, customs clearance for cross-border cargo is handled at land at border entry points, or at downstream custom facilities.
For information on South Sudan customs guidance, please see the following link: 1.3 South Sudan Customs Information
No such capacity. All barges dock to load and offload cargo either directly onto the riverbank (300 m) or on the single concrete jetty (35 m). No RoRo facilities are available and barges moor as close to the riverbank as possible to allow vehicles to board. This requires a great amount of skill.
No such capacity. Cargo arrives packaged and bagged.
No such capacity. Storage remains the responsibility of the cargo owner unless otherwise arranged by barge operators. Plans are in place by various operators to construct storage facilities and holding areas, including cold storage facilities, at dedicated storage yards off-site or at privately owned terminals.
Number of Storage Facilities
Area (square meters)
Stevedoring services can be arranged directly with barge operators or directly from the local labour union, which organizes all labour at the port. There is also no fixed rate for stuffing or de-stuffing barges or containers and although general rates exist for certain types of cargo these would need to be negotiated for directly.
There are no shortages of labour and the union has access to more than 70 porters at any one time, with the ability to quickly scale up its labour requirements. Transparency within the pricing structure remains an issue, as the rates are dynamic, vary between the different ports in the country, and are largely determined by the labour union.
The only means by which cargo can be moved out of the port is by road. Access to the port is generally unrestrictive and privately owned trucks are able to enter and exit the main port facility.
The transport of cargo in and out of the port is the responsibility of the owner but transport can be arranged either through the barge operators or private transport companies. Various large and smaller companies are able to provide such services however capacity and rates vary.
Juba port has its own basic security with a manned access gate allowing entry into the main port facility. Due to the number of vehicles and people requiring access, enforcing effective access control is problematic. Permanent health and safety, medical and firefighting facilities are not present on site and the port is fully reliant on municipal emergency services.
A perimeter fence surrounds the port facility however this fence serves as little deterrence leaving cargo, vehicles and other assets at risk. Barge operators normally have their own security that remains on board vessels. Current plans to upgrade the port facilities include amongst others the revision of security protocols, implementation of stringent access control measures, and the installation of additional lighting.
Current ISPS Level
Level 1 = Normal, Level 2 = Heightened, Level 3 = Exceptional