Dur­ban eyes bil­lions in

CityPress - - Business - LYSE COMINS busi­ness@city­press.co.za

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

Hamish Ersk­ine

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