Durban eyes billions in
The CEO of Dube TradePort Corporation (DTPC), Hamish Erskine, is eager to point out the rapidly expanding developments attracting billions of rands in direct foreign investment to South Africa despite a sluggish global economy. Erskine may be the newly appointed executive who took charge just three months ago after a stint as acting CEO, but he’s no stranger to this burgeoning KwaZulu-Natal north coast aerotropolis that is driving economic growth and making the country a trade gateway to the continent.
Erskine was part of a team of three people that former KwaZulu-Natal economic development, tourism and environmental affairs MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu selected to start prefeasibility studies on the relocation of the Durban International Airport in 1999, which led to the wider R8 billion project, including Dube TradePort.
Today, the DTPC has attracted billions in private investment and 53 businesses operate from the special economic zone – companies sign a 99-year lease and erect buildings that the corporation services, or take shorter leases of DTPC-built factories, agricultural processing plants, warehouses and offices.
International pharmaceutical company Cipla BioTec recently signed an agreement to build a R1.3 billion biopharmaceutical plant, a first for South Africa. It is expected to create 300 direct and 120 downstream jobs by 2018.
The DTPC is about to sign a deal with a global hotel chain and will focus on further growth sectors.
“The focus will be to develop a pharmaceutical cluster and to expand investments within other healthcare industries. The trade zone will also focus on the electronics sector, communications technologies and high-value clothing and textiles,” Erskine said.
“To date, the value of private sector investment secured is R1.4 billion for phase 1, with a further R1.3 billion secured in Dube TradeZone phase 1B,” Erskine said.
So far, 53 businesses operated at Dube TradePort and 12 more were expected to open next year, followed by 40 over the next three years, he said.
“An international hotel group has signed a letter of reservation to develop a hotel with a large international brand with about 150 beds. It’s expected that the final commercial agreement will be signed in early 2017,” Erskine said.
King Shaka International Airport had no international flights in 2010 and today has nine, boosting air freight volumes.
“Dube Cargo Terminal achieved 12% growth in
TRADE TIES The Dube TradePort is located near King Shaka International Airport on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast