Massive R18bn expansion unveiled at Durban's Dube Trade Port

20 March 2019 - 17:01 By Bongani Mthethwa
Work has already begun on the R18bn expansion project at Dube Trade Port.
Work has already begun on the R18bn expansion project at Dube Trade Port.
Image: Supplied

Dube Trade Port, the aerotropolis at Durban’s King Shaka International Airport, is undergoing a massive R18bn expansion.

The expansion plan for the special economic zone was announced by KZN MEC for economic development, tourism and environmental affairs Sihle Zikalala on Wednesday during a tour of the aerotropolis, situated 35km north of Durban.

Zikalala said the multibillion-rand second phase - which is set to create thousands of jobs - was happening at a time when KZN was experiencing an unparalleled wave of investment that was dramatically changing the economic landscape of the province.

“Just recently, we announced as the province that we have amassed business prospects worth more than R200bn, which will see cranes forming the outline against the province’s sky and unleash considerable job opportunities. We made the announcement when we launched our KwaZulu-Natal investment book before the presidential investment summit in 2018,” said Zikalala.

Phase one of the Dube Trade Port created over 12,000 job opportunities and attracted R3.2bn in private-sector investment. “We are proud that since opening its doors in 2010, the Dube Trade Port - one of two special economic zones in the province - has created thousands of jobs and contributed vastly to the provincial fiscus,” said Zikalala.

The MEC also announced that President Cyril Ramaphosa will unveil a state-of-the-art cellphone manufacturing plant in the near future. Pan-African investment conglomerate Mara Group has signed a lease agreement with the port and is proceeding with its plans to invest R1.5bn into SA’s first fully-fledged smartphone factory.

“The second phase of the Dube Trade Port special economic zone is, therefore, a step forward towards this goal. This mega-development brings an additional 45ha of prime industrial land and is expected to generate R18bn within the special economic zone over the next five years,” said Zikalala.

He said the second phase heralded good news for the growth and prosperity of the province, as it offered “immense opportunities" in sectors such as electronics and aeronautical services - such as aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul, fixed-base operations and executive aerospace - among many other offerings.

“Significantly, we want investors to benefit from the incentives of the special economic zone and to take advantage of the greenfield space to develop a globally competitive KwaZulu-Natal,” said Zikalala.

He added that the aerotropolis was poised to enhance urban and national competitiveness through improved multi-modal transport access and coordinated, aviation-linked commercial development.