Since inception in 2010, KwaZulu-Natal’s Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone has gained a reputation as a world-class industrial and commercial precinct and has continued to attract both local and international investment.
Speaking on the sidelines of the second South African Investment Conference in Sandton, this week, Hamish Erskine Chief Executive, Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone said: “We are striving to play our part in President Ramaphosa’s drive to mobilise R1.2 trillion in new investment by creating an environment that is conducive for investment and business success.”
“The second South Africa Investment Conference sets out to showcase growth and investment prospects in the country and the 3000-hectare Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone is one of these. The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government established the Dube TradePort as a catalyst for economic development and job creation.”
Dube TradeZone 2
Erskine said that to date the private sector has invested R3.2 billion and the cumulative impact on jobs was at 21 000. Dube TradeZone 2 launches next year with 29 investors and R8.6 billion of investment in the pipeline, which will come on stream over the next five years.
These investors range from pharmaceutical, electronics, general manufacturing and agri-processing. Electronics and pharmaceutical investments comprise approximately 84% of the entire investment pipeline.
The second phase of the development also affords the business community opportunities in the field of aeronautical services, inclusive of aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul, fixed base operations and executive aerospace, amongst others.
The move to launch the 45 hectares of industrial sites at Dube TradeZone 2 was prompted by the unprecedented success of the fully subscribed Dube TradeZone 1 and the phenomenal levels of interest received from businesses looking to locate within Dube TradePort.
Increasing Air Connectivity
“Increasing air connectivity is an integral component of Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone’s success. A huge amount of work has been undertaken by a number of role-players to promote new route development, which is paying dividends in terms of passengers and cargo volumes,” said Erskine.
Figures for King Shaka International Airport show that international passenger numbers have grown by 11% for the 2019 period ending September, compared to the same period in 2018, continuing the airports status as South Africa’s fastest-growing international air gateway.
Cargo volumes through the Dube Cargo Terminal have risen steadily over the past five years with a record 33% increase in international cargo volumes in 2019.
Erskine said there had been an interest from small and medium-sized enterprises, which would benefit from being in the Dube TradeZone space, and a mini-factory development, about 500m from the Cargo Terminal was available.
These units are just under 250 square meters and ideal for upstream and downstream linkages between the current and future tenants in the Dube TradeZone.
The 16-hectare Dube Agri-Zone, packhouses, nursery and plant tissue culture laboratory had also been a success and are fully tenanted. This is a high-tech agricultural development that is the largest climate-controlled glass-covered growing area in Africa.
It provides an opportunity to achieve improved agricultural yields, consistent quality, year-round production and the superior management of disease and pests.
The facility’s primary focus is on the production of short shelf-life vegetables and other horticultural products, which require immediate post-harvest airlifting and supply to both domestic and export markets.
“Our phase two of the AgriZone is 90 hectares. We plan to bring on about 30 hectares during 2020 with slightly different criteria, which include local economic development of surrounding small-scale farmers and a need for an export and employment creation focus,” said Erskine.
Another big advantage of Dube Special Economic Zone is its cutting-edge telecommunications platform and premier cloud service provider, Dube iConnect, which provides connectivity to the precinct. It is also KwaZulu-Natal’s only locally-hosted cloud service which makes it a leader for regional data storage and recovery.
Erskine pointed out that collaboration with national, provincial government, other public entities and the private sector was key to delivering on Dube TradePort Corporation’s vision.